ODB: The Night No One Came

January 6, 2014

READ: Matthew 6:1-7 

Do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. —Matthew 6:1

One winter night composer Johann Sebastian Bach was scheduled to debut a new composition. He arrived at the church expecting it to be full. Instead, he learned that no one had come. Without missing a beat, Bach told his musicians that they would still perform as planned. They took their places, Bach raised his baton, and soon the empty church was filled with magnificent music.

This story made me do some soul-searching. Would I write if God were my only audience? How would my writing be different?

New writers are often advised to visualize one person they are writing to as a way of staying focused. I do this when I write devotionals; I try to keep readers in mind because I want to say something they will want to read and that will help them on their spiritual journey.

I doubt that the “devotional writer” David, whose psalms we turn to for comfort and encouragement, had “readers” in mind. The only audience he had in mind was God.

Whether our “deeds,” mentioned in Matthew 6, are works of art or acts of service, we should keep in mind that they’re really between us and God. Whether or not anyone else sees does not matter. He is our audience.

— Julie Ackerman Link

That my ways might show forth Your glory,
That You, dear Lord, greatly deserve!
With Your precious blood You’ve redeemed me—
In all my days, You I would serve! —Somerville

Serve for an audience of one.

Source: Our Daily Bread