Day 28 | Matthew 6:1-4 | To be admired by others…


Passage: Matthew 6:1-4

“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. 2 When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. 3 But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4 Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. [NLT]

Thoughts:

WATCH OUT! Anytime you see Jesus using this type of statement you can be sure that what follows is a warning as well as a very important teaching. In essence He is saying “PAY ATTENTION!” Here is the Strong’s definition:

prosechō {pros-ekh’-o}
From G4314 and G2192; (figuratively) to hold the mind (G3563 implied) towards, that is, pay attention to, be cautious about, apply oneself to, adhere to: – (give) attend (-ance, -ance at, -ance to, unto), beware, be given to, give (take) heed (to, unto) have regard.

So does He have your attention now? 🙂 Let’s also look at some historical background to get a feel for what Jesus is dealing with culturally as well.

Matthew_6:1

This verse is the thesis statement that introduces the three examples of private piety in Mat_6:2-16. Judaism stressed that one should not perform deeds for the sake of reward but nonetheless promised reward, as Jesus does here; this reward is rendered at the day of judgment, as in Judaism. Prayer, fasting and gifts to the poor were basic components of Jewish piety (Tobit 12:8), and many *rabbis listed qualities (e.g., virtues on which the world was founded) in sets of three.

Mat_6:2-4

Greeks and Romans did not support personal charity; wealthy contributions to public projects or to poorer *clients were meant to secure the giver’s popularity. In contrast, charity was central to Jewish piety; some writers even said that it saved a person, although later Jewish laws technically did not permit one to give over 20 percent above his tithes.

Some commentators have taken the trumpet sounding literally, but it is *hyperbolic (people did not blow trumpets when giving alms) and may reflect a play on words (charity boxes were often shaped like trumpets). Not letting one’s left hand know about the right hand’s gift is clearly hyperbole. The language of “having” a reward “in full” is the language of repayment in ancient business receipts. IVP Bible Background Commentary

Useful Definition:

Hyperbole: A bold, deliberate overstatement, eg, “I’d give my right arm for a piece of pizza.” Not intended to be taken literally, it is used as a means of emphasizing the truth of a statement. …

So now let’s try to get down to the meat of what Jesus is telling us here. Many people would say that He is dealing with giving to the poor or charity, in some respects that is true, but I think he is dealing with deeper aspects of human nature. Pride. Attention seeking. Self glorification. These are the things really being dealt with.

One of the first things that came to my mind when reading this was…politicians. Oh how they love to show their great deeds to the public. They go out of their way to show their great acts of charity…”Look at me!” …”Look how wonderful and caring I am.” Their “salvation” their “heaven” is the political office that they seek. I wonder if any of them ever feel buyers remorse? And when they do something wrong, something that will lower their standing in the public eye, they go out of their way to make sure no one hears a word of it. They call this damage control.

When we live only for ourselves we can do some pretty stupid and self centered things….but….we can also do some amazing acts of charity and kindness. Because either act is selfish in nature (if done for your own glory) it ultimately leads to only a reward that this world can supply. Yes, you may gain that recognition desired and obtain the political office you sought. But that is the only reward you have earned…and never forget that this world can also easily take away anything that it gives you.

Jesus is pointing us to the concept of doing your good deeds for God’s sake, for His glorification and not your own. This is not a way to gain or earn entrance into heaven, oh no, be very careful of that misunderstanding…

Mat 7:22-23 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’ [NLT]

…but it is a way to show who has the power in your life. Is God the one that you want to be glorified when you do a good deed? If so, Jesus is telling us to do it for God and not for the “viewing pleasure” of those around us.

Try it sometime…do a good deed in secret and then watch yourself and see how hard it really is to not say anything to anyone about the good deed that you did. I have personally struggled with this one. I understood the concept of what Jesus was teaching…so…having a friend in need, I put money in an envelope and placed it where they would find it. However, the personal struggle that followed was much harder than I ever thought it would be. So many times afterward I found myself wanting to “casually” mention how I had helped these friends out. I wanted to take the glory for myself. Pride, or self glorification has such a strong pull on our hearts. This is why Jesus said..”WATCH OUT!” Check your own heart…who is being glorified the most in your life?

Prayer:

Lord,

I am so full of pride. Lord, please take it away. Help me to seek only Your glorification. Help me to only want Your praise and not care about the praise of men. What a deceptive thing my heart can be Lord. Please help me to see the tricks that it plays and to do what You would have me to do. Help me to see Your will more clearly in my life.

Thank you for everything that you have given me Lord. Help me to cling to You and not the things of this world. Prepare me for the time of discipline that will soon be coming.

Please be with all of the prayer requests on the prayer list. I would also like to ask that You help in the raising of funds for my son’s special school that he needs. I put this situation in Your hands knowing that You will supply.

Keep my family, friends, and church family safe from harm. Help us all to grow in You and live a life that glorifies You and You alone. Thank you for giving us freedom. Amen.


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