Wash Your Face
The thing that goes the fartherest towards making life worthwhile,
That costs the least, and does the most, is just a pleasant smile.
It’s full of worth and goodness, too, with manly kindness blent,
It’s worth a million dollars, and it doesn’t cost a cent.
Mary C. Lewis, Trinity On The Hill United Methodist Church
I read this poem yesterday in a book I got from my dad after he passed away. It reminded me of something Jesus had to say about fasting in His sermon on the mount.
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. ~ Matthew 6:16-18
It made me wonder again about how everyone is doing with their fast. Not so much, if you are able to succeed in abstaining in your fast, but if you are able to do it with a cheerful disposition. Jesus says we are hypocrites for disfiguring our faces and looking gloomy. I believe the reason for that is our fast is to be unto the Lord. It is between us and God. When we act differently, especially pitifully, we are drawing attention to ourselves and to our piety for fasting. We are hoping others will see us as more spiritual. A fast is to be personal with God. Even though I called the church to fast and pray publicly, and we know that several people have agreed to seek God over the points of prayer, the fast itself, your fast, is personal between you and God.
So we are called to wash our face and put on some lotion when we fast, to look as though we have spent time in God’s presence, because we should have. When we spend time in God’s presence our hearts should be glad. Proverbs 15:13 says, “A glad heart makes a cheerful face,…” So turn that frown upside down and tell your starving soul to feast on God; nothing satisfies the soul but Him.
For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things. ~ Psalm 107:9