April 12 - Matthew 6:1-4

Friday, April 12, 2013

April 12 - Matthew 6:1-4

“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. 

“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. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

We much prefer immediate gratification to long term reward, don’t we! It is one of the great problems we face in our culture today. Everything that we encounter encourages us to purchase things immediately. We must have it right now.

The second part of this passage today also points at our need for receiving praise for what we do and say. We are told over and over that to get ahead in life, we have to constantly tell others what we are doing well. If we won’t stand up for ourselves, no one else will be bothered to stand up for us.

Self-promotion and immediate gratification. Jesus reminds us that this will get us nowhere in the long run. And though our lives are limited to a few short decades, we still see it as a long run and it is difficult to get on board with a plan that will last a lifetime, much less eternity.

I was talking with a friend the other day and she was saying that a service organization she belonged to couldn't get on board with a charity because there was no way to promote the activity and thus allow the service club to advertise their grand success. It was disappointing to discover that the only good service was that which would make people look good.

Do your good works in secret, otherwise your reward comes immediately rather than from God in eternity.  Jesus is pretty clear … it’s one or the other.