Monday, June 3, 2013

"Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the street, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I tell you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place, and your Father who sees in secret, will reward you openly.... Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matthew 6:2-6, 16-18).

IDEA: We get what we really want.

PURPOSE: To help listeners understand that motives are basic to what we do.

How would you evaluate the substance behind two statements from two different kinds of people?

Morton Shulman wrote a best-selling book with a title that summed up the major thrust of the book: Anyone Can Make a Million. He argues that if you really want it, you can make it happen.

John Baille made the same point in a different mood in his book A Reasoned Faith: "I am impressed by the number of people who succeed in the things into which they have really thrown their energy. The voluptuary who wants a life of sensual satisfaction can usually get it. How many men have wanted money before everything else, and just because they have given their whole minds to it, have amassed a fortune! Others have wanted only power, and have succeeded in ruling their own little roost, whatever else they may have missed.”

How would you evaluate those statements?

I. Jesus seems to say much the same thing in His Sermon on the Mount.

He begins the second section of the Sermon with these words: "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven."

What "acts of righteousness" is He talking about?

Doing charitable deeds (Matthew 6:2-4)

Praying (Matthew 6:5-6)

Fasting (Matthew 6:16-18)

What do you think the folks Jesus described as "they have their reward" really wanted?

The Greek word Jesus used that translates as "rewards" was sometimes used on ancient receipts. It is as though these people had to sign on the dotted line, "PAID IN FULL. I have received full payment for what I worked for."

What were those people working for whom Jesus had in mind?

Conclusion:

Do you think it takes much energy to get what they received?