Reflections on Matthew 6:1-6
Jesus said: “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.5 “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 6 But whenever 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.”
As part of my connection to the community, I belong to a service club. Our club here in Winter Haven is a local chapter of a worldwide group of individuals (one of over 30,000 local chapters). There are over one million people active in the club to which I belong. We gather weekly for a meal. We enjoy meeting people from other professions and occupations. And we try to practice “service above self.” While I enjoy my affiliation with my service club, I am sometimes disappointed that much of the good that we do seems to go unnoticed by a huge part of the world. (In just one of our areas of service, our worldwide club is nearing the end of a thirty plus year campaign to wipe out polio from the face of the earth. And we are close to our goal!) But, we don’t do what we do for the fame or praise. I guess the people whom we have protected from polio, or helped in other ways, know who we are.
Christianity is also like that. I belong to a family of faith. Our church here is a local manifestation of the body of Christ (one of the countless gatherings of Christ’s disciples). There are over 2 billion people active in Christ’s church worldwide. We gather at least weekly to feast on the Word of God. And we hit our knees in prayer and give of our resources daily to help us live out our relationship with the God who made us, claims us, and saves us. And while what we do in our daily walk with God makes a difference in our lives and the lives of others, we should not do it for fame or praise. Our Father in heaven sees us, and that is enough.
Jesus taught us to serve quietly. It may keep our service-focused correctly.
God, help me to have a mind and heart for You and others, when I spend my quiet times immersed in Your Word. Amen.