Who Is It For?
Service Versus Ovation
Today’s reading Genesis 18, 19, Matthew 6:1-18God knows us inside and out. He knows not only what we do, but also why we do it. Only someone who knows us so thoroughly would warn us about doing the right thing in the sight of men while harboring the wrong motives before God. Jesus begins this sermon by establishing that righteousness is a gift of God’s grace. He said, among other things, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). I believe the reason we should hunger and thirst for righteousness is because of a profound recognition that we aren’t righteous. Because of the work of the cross, righteousness is made available to those who repent and confess Jesus as Lord. After we have been declared righteous before God, we are called to live a practical life of righteousness. This call is not an “in-the-sight-of-men” kind of righteousness. Rather, He calls us to live righteous in His sight. This is evident when we are mindful of our actions when no one is watching. Jesus is calling us, as His followers, to cease from seeking reward and recognition. God is calling us to beware of this tendency in three very important areas of spiritual life: acts of charity (vs. 2-4); in saying our prayers (vs. 5-15), and in fasting (vs.16-18). Today’s Takeaways:
- We are not forbidden to do righteous acts in front of people; we are not to do it with the intention of receiving the glory.
- We must keep our guard up so that we can remain genuine, so that we keep up not only the right actions, but the attitudes and motives that are so important to maintain.
- When you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
- Jesus says that when we give in that manner that we are not pleasing God, but that the applause from man is the only reward we will receive.
- Jesus is not prohibiting public prayer, but He is saying that prayer is not designed for show, rather it should be used to express the interest of the heart.
- Service is about attitude and motives, not recognition and reward.