Open Your Bible
Matthew 6:5-34, Psalm 139
Text: Matthew 6:5-34, Psalm 139:1-12
I want to hug the person who invented name tags. Really, I think we’d be great friends.
Meeting new people is such fanfare to some. There are mnemonic devices for remembering names, online guides to small talk, and the worst—the “get to know you” games.
Icebreakers, often in the form of “the name game” or “two truths and a lie,” are usually well-intentioned attempts to make a group of strangers more comfortable with one another. They’re also my cue to run to the nearest exit.
It’s not because I’m shy—oh, goodness, no!-—it’s just that having 10 seconds to determine my forever impression on a bunch of people I’ve never met isn’t my definition of fun.
Maybe it’s because the nicknames I’ve walked away with from these games have stayed with me longer than I’d hoped, or just because I’ve spent years talking myself out of the things I said in a moment of sheer panic (“Yes, I know I said I love to kayak, but in reality I’ve never been in one and I just couldn’t think of another word that began with the letter K”).
More likely, it’s because I want to control how the world sees me. I spend time bartering for my worth through the lens of another, and usually walk away counting my losses.
While reading about the hypocrites in Matthew 6, I begin doing the same thing.
No, Lord. I’m not like that.
And He gently pushes me to the end of the chapter, where Jesus teaches about worry, something that initially seems unrelated.
But when I can’t write others’ opinions of me, I get sweaty.
When I try to manipulate approval, I become restless.
And when I hustle to cover up my wrongs, I’m the most anxious girl in the room.
In that familiar, worried place kept secret by my shame, I find myself standing with the hypocrites as Jesus questions us—Why are you anxious, O you of little faith?
I want to point to the part of my name tag that says “Christian” in bold letters. Of course I have faith!
He reminds me to soften my strife and silence my sales pitch. Am I afraid the Christian life will go unnoticed, or am I worried I won’t get credit for being a part of it?
If we really looked to see what’s behind and before our random acts of kindness, behind and before our words formed in prayer, behind and before our songs sung in worship—would there be a void?
Those actions have a name and it’s not ours.
May I be willing to trade a whisper of my name for a shout of His.
May I stop trying to be the “bigger person” and start seeking the All Sufficient.
May I replace my performance with His presence.
May we come quietly for the Almighty to sound.
“Father, you know us in secret, and you know all our secret places.
What we do to benefit your kingdom will not be lost if it is not seen by others,
for you see and you reward according to your grace and mercy.
Strengthen us to do good works, visibly or invisibly, always in your name.”
– GK Chesterton
Kaitlin Wernet is a Carolina girl who now plants her feet in Tennessee as the Community Coordinator for She Reads Truth. Each day, she excitedly celebrates grace with her SRT sisters while attempting to tame her curly hair and avoid parallel parking.