Focal Passages: Matthew 6:1-13, 16-18
Have you ever seen the guy with the oversized money clip. He’s carrying a few hundred dollars and wants you to know it! Even if he’s only carrying one $100 bill with 50 ones packed inside, he wants you to be impressed. Jesus warned His hearers of public, trumpeted giving that men honor but God does not reward. Conversely, He taught us to give secretly so that God will be honored and we will be rewarded.
Who are you glorifying with your money?
I grew up attending church with an older man my sister and I referred to as “The Great Oz.”
I admit we should have been focusing on God instead of him, but his prayers always sounded like a presentation of smoke and fire while the real person remained hidden.
He prayed the same repetitious, self-glorifying prayer with no mention of the grace or mercy of God. According to Jesus, we must be hidden, both physically and spiritually, in God’s divine priorities.
Have you ever noticed the priorities of the model prayer?
Before human needs are mentioned, we are called to focus on our Heavenly Father’s name, kingdom, and will.
When Jesus comes to our needs, only one is material and it is limited by the parameters of necessity.
This need is outnumbered by our need for forgiveness and the averting of sin in the future. In other words, God’s will and our alignment with it far outweigh our material needs.
One of the most awkward moments of my seminary years happened one afternoon during class prayer time.
Some of us knew a classmate had been fasting and was beginning to look very weak and hollow-eyed.
That day she praised God that she had been fasting for 21 days!
In the midst of our disbelief the professor said, “According to the Bible, you just lost your blessing!”
She made the mistake of both displaying and announcing the pain of fasting.
Jesus exhorts us to avoid trying to impress people, and to remember that God knows and will reward our secret devotion.
Who are you trying to impress?