“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2 “Thus, 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. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“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. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 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.Matt 6: 1-6 , 16-18
These verse surround the most widely known prayer in the world -The Lords prayer.
We see 3 things in these verses that Jesus is pointing out: PRAYER, FASTING, and GIVING.
He gives us how to do these things to receive our reward. But maybe even more importantly Jesus is warning us saying, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”
So, the first thing the Lord is pointing out to us today, is to ponder these questions:
The other day while I was waiting to pick up my son, I noticed a young lady as she was walking out of school. She was moving forward, but as she walked, she continually looked back and all around her every 2 or 3 seconds. Her head seemed to be on a swivel at all times as if she was searching or looking for something. I spoke out loud in my car to myself and said in a curious voice, “What are you looking for?” As I giggled at the sight.
Sometimes we live just like that with our head on a swivel, our soul realm screaming for attention. Jesus is pulling on a thread here, of how we use our practice of good deeds, to be seen by others.
Are you looking for those who are looking at you? Do you long to hear their praise? Do you wait for their words to tell you that you did a good job? Are you busy mananging your image? And what happens in your heart if no one notices?
Jesus said simply to give without anyone knowing about it, pray in secret and watch God work, practice spiritual disciplines without waving a “a look at me” flag.
PRAYER: Father, forgive me for all the ways I desire people to see me, praise me, and applaud me. Lord, help me to walk the way your Word says in simplicity, in quiet, secret, God glorifying ways. Lord, it is a heavy burden to manange my own image all the time, always worrying about what everyone else will think. Trying to be two steps ahead and making sure to come out looking good and doing the right thing. Today, I cast my cares, my image, and my soul realm into your loving care. I lift my voice and say, “God be glorified through me today” even if no one but You see it.
In Jesus name, Amen.
All is grace,