22 February 2012Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (v. 21)
Lent begins today. For many, this season is a time for personal
reflection about our walk with God and the way in which we live out
our faith day by day. It is also a time for corporate consideration
of faith and the role of the Church in society today. Today's
passage helps us to get underway!
Jesus' teaching to his disciples as to how they should live encourages them to express their relationship with God without looking for any earthly recognition or rewards - in quiet, unnoticeable ways that will be noticeable to God. Jesus also teaches them how to pray and sets out the Lord's Prayer (verses 7-15) as the pattern for our own prayers before teaching that God's forgiveness is conditional on our willingness to forgive those who have wronged us. He continues with teaching about fasting and the use of resources.
Hunger for God should drive us on so that we behave in ways that are pleasing to God. The thrust of these verses is the denial of self against overt displays of piety - as often seen in religious leaders of Jesus' day.
As Lent begins, let us keep our small sacrifices between God and ourselves and allow God to speak to us about the things we think, do and say that are worthy of the one who made the ultimate sacrifice for our sake.
"Although the disciples are to be seen doing good works, they must not do good works in order to be seen" (Paul Levertoff (c.1875- 1954), a Hebrew-Christian scholar). To what extent is this a description of your behaviour?
What is balance between witnessing and showing off?