I’ve spent much of the last 2-1/2 months sequestered in the house due to illness and recovery from my recent shoulder surgery. I’m now feeling well enough to do something besides drive myself to physical therapy, so yesterday I treated myself to a quick trip north to St. Francis, WI. My long-time prayer partner and dear friend Meg was slated to sing to the residents of the St. Ann Center for Intergenerational Care. I simply wanted to tuck myself into a corner in the back of the room and listen for a while.
Meg is an gifted songwriter and acoustic guitarist with a voice as sweet and pure as a lark’s. One nurse at St. Ann’s remarked, “Listening to her sing is like going on a retreat.” Meg is talented enough to be leading worship or performing for big crowds. She’s done some of that in the past, but her present ministry is primarily at facilities like St. Ann’s or at the bedsides of dying people. Her favorite “stage” of all is sitting alone in a room with a guitar and an open Bible, singing to her Savior.
She sang a mix of her own music and classics like “I’ll Fly Away” and “Little Brown Church in the Vale” to an enthusiastic mix of developmentally disabled and elderly patients. While she was singing, the Lord gently reminded me of something I used to do when I was a child. At 7 or 8, I loved doing one kind thing each day in secret for someone else as an offering to God. Before my childlike faith shriveled, those small acts – picking up litter in someone’s yard, helping a lost dog find its way home – were the moments when I sensed God’s nearness. I wasn’t doing those things to earn his favor or to perform for others. I simply enjoyed the sweetness of relationship with my Creator.
I think Meg’s ministry was used by God to excavate those memories because she was doing the same sort of thing. Her nursing home ministry is miles away from a stage and a mic, but the humility with which she gives away the best she has is near to the heart of God:
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:2-4
This passage usually paints images of material/financial giving for me, but yesterday’s activity room concert reminded me that there are lots of ways to give away my best on the D.L. For God’s eyes only.
What can you give to someone in need as your secret offering to the Lord? (Please don’t reply here, because then it wouldn’t be secret anymore!)