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.
Watch out for show!
Do everything for God!
Again, Jesus is talking about our ‘righteousness’ (Matthew 6:1; Cf. Matthew 5:20).
“Righteousness is that which may be expected of us in our relationship with the LORD and the people, which corresponds in a pure way to the purpose of our life (cf. Ephesians 5:1,2; Colossians 1:9,10).
Jesus mentions three forms of this righteousness:
- giving money (Matthew 6:1-4),
- praying (Matthew 6:5-15)
- and fasting (Matthew 6:16-18).
It is impure when we do it all in a showy way.
Apparently that happened then.
Everyone seeks recognition and appreciation. When we get it, we feel that our lives have meaning. We therefore strive for acceptance in all kinds of ways. We want to be counted.
That is very understandable.
Religious practices can also help us with this. But then they have to stand out.
People should be impressed. And apparently it succeeds (cf. Matthew 6:1,2,5).
It is not wrong that we seek recognition and appreciation.
Without realizing that our lives have meaning, we cannot exist.
But how do we want to achieve that?
Who do we seek acceptance from?
Where are we seeking it?
With men or with God?
We only fulfill the purpose of our lives in a pure way if our hearts are focused on the LORD in everything (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:14,15).
For example, when the large proceeds of a collection are mentioned, we pat ourselves on the back and outsiders; who hears of it also praise us for our sacrificial skill.
But what would the LORD think?
Is it in our giving and praying to do Him?
The LORD searches for our real motives.
And He will let us know when our giving and praying pleases Him (Hebrews 6:10).
Jesus says, “Your Father will repay you” (Matthew 6:3,4,6; The inner room (Matthew 6:6); the storeroom of the house, the only room that could be locked).
Isn’t that strange?
No, if we sincerely seek Him in everything, He will allow Himself to be found by us (cf. Jeremiah 29:11-14). The Father draws us to Himself as His children.
- For what does Jesus say (in John 5:41-47 and 12:42,43) is the seeking of one’s own honor a hindrance?
- Ask the Lord to search your heart.
- Ask the Lord to make known to you if there is an evil way within you.
- Ask the Lord to lead you in the eternal way.
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