Wednesday, December 1, 2021
The World Is Not a Stage
6 “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.
2-4 “When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.
-Matthew 6:1-4 The Message
Charitable Giving to the Poor and Prayer
6 Verse 1: “Take care not to practice your righteousness in the sight of people, to be noticed by them; otherwise, you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
Verse 2: “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets so that they will be praised by people. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
Verse 2 study: We see hypocrites is used in this verse. A hypocrite is described as people who only do good acts for appreciation, not compassion or other good motives. The action behind what they do might be good, but the reasons are hallowed. The senseless acts are the only reward, whereas God will reward those sincere in their faith.
Verse 3: But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
Verse 4: so that your charitable giving will be in secret; your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Verse 3 study: Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. The purpose is to stay pure in what you do. Your mixed emotions are easy to give into when giving, and it is also easy to do something for someone and want something in return. All believers should avoid scheming and learn to give for the pleasure of giving and as a response to God’s love. Why do you give?
Verses 3-4 studies: Doing what is right is easier as you gain recognition and praise. One way to make sure our motives are not selfish is to do our deeds quietly and in secret without any thought of reward. Jesus said we should check our motives in three areas.
- Generosity (6:4)
- Prayer (6:6)
- Fasting (6:18)
These acts should not be acted as self-centered but as God-centered. It should be done to make God look good, not ourselves. What God promises us is not material things, and it is never given to those who seek it. Doing things only for ourselves is not loving sacrifice. With your next good deed, ask this, “Would I still do this if no one would ever know I did it?”
Father, as we read today, being a hypocrite is not good in serving you. Therefore, I pray that we can be straight with you and pray when we feel something isn’t right when we serve for you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.