Reading the Word
Matthew 6:1–4 (ESV)
1 “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.
2 “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. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Understanding and Applying the Word
Why do we do the things we do? Motivations are important. They are important to God. Jesus tells us that we must be careful not to do good things so that others will see us. If our motivation is to be recognized by others and receive a nice pat on the back or lofty praise, we have it all wrong. This does not please the Father and we should expect no reward from him. The only reward we will receive is the pat on the back or praise we have received from others.
Instead, we should practice doing right, but without expectation or need to have others notice. Our only motivation is that we want to please the Father, the one who created us and the one who sent his Son into the world for our salvation. In the end, he will reward us even if no one else ever notices the things we have done. And in the end, that is all that will truly matter.
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