Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Matthew 6:1-21

March 3 – Matthew 6:1-21
These verses make up the center of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.  This means these words form the central thought which hangs Christ’s entire sermon.  And at the center of this passage is the Lord’s Prayer.  Bracketed before the Lord’s Prayer is the admonition to give to the poor.  Bracketed after the Lord’s Prayer is the teaching on how to fast.

And spaced through each thought is the warning to not practice and do these things to look good before the world.  Do these things because our treasure is in God. We seek to be rewarded by our Father and not by the world.
 
So give to the needy when no one is looking.  Let no one know the good works you do so that the world does not praise you.  Seek the praise that comes rather from God.  No good deed is lost upon God, and so we will trust him to reward us as He sees fit.

And when we pray, don’t make a scene.  Some may wow people with their verbiage and expressive thoughts toward God that seem to flow from the heart.  But it is better to go into a closet when no one is looking and quietly lay out your thoughts before God.  God doesn’t hear just because we pray more or sound impressive.
 
And when we fast, and yes, we should fast, we also keep it between us and God.  Spirituality aimed at the world will not benefit us before God.  God will see our efforts and he will exalt us.

Almsgiving, Praying, Fasting.  These are all connected together in the Christian life, and they are central to how Jesus has called us.  But he has called us to meekness and lowliness before the world so that he can exalt us in His timing.  Our reward from the world is fleeting and failing.  But our reward from God is eternal and lasting.
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