Matthew 6:1-6 NASB
¹Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
²So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. ³But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, ⁴so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
⁵When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. ⁶But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Be sincere in serving God.
Charity, prayer, and fasting…three things Jesus defines as righteousness (Matthew 6:1), as something God wills. So it’s good to do.
But… how do we deal with it?
What is our motive when we put them into practice?
Because that’s what it’s all about.
Jesus says: ‘Don’t do it to show everyone how charitable and pious you are. Then you may be admired by men, but not by your heavenly Father” (Matthew 6:1).
In Jesus’ day, if anyone wanted to give money for the poor, it was proclaimed in the synagogue and also in the streets where the poor people lived. Jesus calls such givers hypocrites.
They used their charity to be respected by the people.
Thus they secured their own reward (Matthew 6:2).
Jesus shows us with an example what God asks of us.
Our two hands almost always work together, ‘know everything about each other’. Now if one hand doesn’t notice what the other is doing, they keep their activities secret from each other.
Applied to your charity, that means don’t boast about what you give to others.
Do it and don’t look back! God will reward you for it (Matthew 6:3,4).
When it comes to prayer, the same standard applies.
A prayer to God must come from your heart.
The LORD does not listen to people who say a formal prayer in public.
As the Pharisees did, in order that they should be considered pious (Matthew 23:14).
Whoever wants to pray to God must isolate himself.
Jesus did that (cf. Matthew 14:23) and it is necessary for us too.
God does not appreciate the prayers of false pious people.
But if we serve Him out of love and seek His fellowship, the Lord will amply recompense the honor that men do not bestow upon us: the intimacy with Him, our heavenly Father (Matthew 6:5,6; See eg Psalm 25:14; John 12:26). Nothing beats that, right?
- In what way do you still value the judgment of men, including in serving God?
- Ask the Lord to teach you to seek and serve Him with a sincere heart.
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