The First 15

Tuesday November 10, 2020

by First Methodist Mansfield

Opening Prayer

Begin this new day by praying this prayer out loud. As you are able, consider kneeling as a physical expression of your commitment to Jesus as Lord of your life and the one you desire to lead you this day. Alternatively, you might consider placing a hand over your heart as you pray this prayer.

God of rescue and restoration, thank You for Your great and beautiful mission in the world. Here I am Lord, fill me with Your Spirit and send me.

Scripture Reading

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Matthew 6:16-18


In Jesus’ day, people would put ashes on their faces and allow their hair and beards to become unkempt and tangled. In other words, it was obvious to everyone around them they were fasting. They are fasting but it’s the way they are fasting that’s the problem. The how reveals the heart. They have the appearance of holiness but not the heart of holiness. They are misunderstanding what fasting is all about. Self-Sacrifice can be Self-Serving. It was for these folks. Their motivation was themselves and being noticed. Some apples look fine to eat but there are worms inside. Many of us can run races for good causes, wear t-shirts raising awareness, grow beards during the month of November, and be seen coming to church, but God knows and sees what we do in secret. And so much of our life with him is meant for only him.

What is the motivation for your good deeds? Where have you chosen to do good because it benefitted you? What would it look like, if instead, you did well for God alone?

Closing Prayer

When you are finished with your time of reflection, close out this time with this prayer.

Father, help me to live this day to the full,
being true to You in every way.
Jesus, help me to give myself away to others,
being kind to everyone I meet.
Spirit, help me to love the lost,
proclaiming Christ in all I do and say.

The First 15

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