19 December 2018

Matthew 6
Psalm 138

In Matthew 6, Jesus continues to teach His disciples about how they are to conduct themselves in areas of life that call for sacrifice—good deeds for others, giving money to those in need, fasting alongside prayer.  This is taught in contrast to practices that were obviously common and self-seeking so that lots of people would know how ‘great’ they were. But we all like a bit of recognition and a pat on the back when we do something for others or when it is sacrificial— don’t we?

Why do we do these things in the first place? Whose attention are we really trying to get? It all comes back to that heart attitude again. Jesus reminds us that the only One who counts as far as seeing what we do in relation to good deeds is our Heavenly Father. Our instant gratification and influential society would want us to see this differently (it’s all about now!). Jesus, however, reminds us that it is our Father who rewards us and He assures us that we will be satisfied when our motivation for doing good deeds is found in our faith in Him. Can there be a greater reward?

Jesus’ teaching about money in verse 24 is equally non-compromising and cuts straight to the heart of the matter. How much do we value our money and how much do we truly value God? We might not normally think of money as a ‘master’ or ‘boss’—but how much time and energy do we give to thinking about it, acquiring more and more and more, and then acquiring more and more stuff? Then comes the justification of why we acquire things. There is always a reason and a good one to boot!

Of course, the issue is not about how much money we have or earn but where our heart is. Do we love the Lord and seek Him in deciding what we do with our money—however much or little we have— recognising that all that we have comes from our Heavenly Father in the first place? We either do that or face the alternative that money is actually our boss—a rather sobering alternative indeed.

Prayer: Help us Lord to be motivated by our faith in You in all that we do, and to store up treasures in heaven where moths and rust cannot destroy and thieves do not break in and steal.