Matthew 6: 1- 4
Do you think you are you a charitable person? If so, are you sure that your charity is pleasing to God? Why, or why not?
This passage sets out to proclaim the true lasting motivations for our daily pursuits of giving, praying, and fasting, extending to other pursuits in the coming chapters (6:1-33). These motivations for rewards will show how we exhibit our piety before God and people. Such motivations can either glorify God or become of hypocritical contempt to God, as well as ridicule and shame for the Church. Jesus calls us to righteous giving, that we should only be giving to others in order to please God. We are not to seek to please ourselves, and certainly not others. When we only seek the praise of others, our giving becomes fuel for selfishness, and God is not glorified. Our reward will only be the momentary praise, and a much greater reward will become lost due to our misplaced motivations. God will not reward us twice, so, we must choose which reward we want, one from feeble temporary people, or one from the Great, Eternal God.
Do not do your chartable deeds before men: Jesus is affirming the positive value of such deeds. But, He also warns that they must be done with the correct, proper attitudes and motivations.
Classic Judaism states that our motivation for performing good deeds should not be for rewards from others. Rather, we should wait for our reward in Judgment. Jesus affirms this classic teaching, and challenges the teachers of the Law to uphold it. They, of course, did not, as they proclaimed elaborate displays, and speaking to draw attention to themselves when they gave, the opposite of what they thought (Tobit 12:8 Jewish Tex])! Charity was so essential to the Law that some rabbis were teaching that alms giving meant a sure place in Heaven. The Law did not teach this. The Law stated that you could give up to 20% of your tithe to the poor, but no more than that. Otherwise, the priests would not have enough funds to run the county. OT tithes were also state taxes. You could, of course, give more from your personal discretionary income, just as we do today.
Have you ever considered that some forms of charity actually displease God?
Remember Jesus taught His disciples to have a righteousness that exceeded that of the Pharisees, meaning they must be real in their faith, and in their walk in Christ (Matt. 5:20)! The Scribes and Pharisees were practicing the art of hypocrisy–not righteousness! Jesus does not pay any attention to the people who say one thing and do another, nor does He pay attention to misplaced motivations or religious gab and gossip! Is He paying attention to you?
What would Jesus say about your true motivations in your daily pursuits of piety, such as in giving? Why are our motivations for rewards important?
Motivations will glorify God or will be hypocritical and contemptible to God, as well as bring ridicule and shame to the Church. Why?
It has been said that the check register or day planner is a great sign to determine the spiritual health of that person. How does your check register or bank statement reflect your relationship in Christ?
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