Giving to the Needy
6 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
The Lord’s Prayer
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Lay Up Treasures in Heaven
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
Do Not Be Anxious
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Within the times of which Jesus spoke, there were 3 pillars of a godly life the Teachers of the Law taught. They proclaimed if you did these things you were indeed following after Him. It was almsgiving, prayer and fasting. These were 3 areas obviously that were good.
However, the religious leaders took these mandates and often worked them so they would look better than others. These whom Jesus went after again and again were wanting the appearance to be holy however as He exposed were seeking to garner attention from others rather than God Himself. Reading Jesus’ words on his addressing these key issues reveals a strong boldness of what He spoke. He was coming after the posers of the religious system.
His answer in how to avoid being fake in what is done is found at the close of the chapter. As he moved into worry he said, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness…” (verse 33) This to me is the key. Not only these 3 pillars that were looked upon as making yourself good before God, but also boils down what all we’re investing in; attempting to be raised in the eyes of others through what we do. It exposes the motives of our heart on many fronts.
If we are to seek His Kingdom above all else, what does that mean? What are the practical’s? As He’s speaking of worry and it’s effects, it resonates with where our energy is going on matters. It speaks toward our inability to trust God in whatever situation we are facing. The reality is worry immobilizes us. Genuine concern moves us to action.
But in that action there needs to be a heart and head turn toward God for the help we need – first. Turning to Him, even when I think about the 3 pillars is trusting Him with our finances as we give generously, praying in the Spirit seeking, and when He calls us toward fasting for that answer. It’s trusting Him as we’re seeking His Kingdom not what the world deems as righteous. Seeking the Kingdom of God is seeking His character. It’s serving and obeying in everything we do.
Our priorities shift quite quickly when we’re not doing so. When we are making people, objects, goals and personal desires to what drives us – we are seeking ourselves, not Him. They easily remove God from that first place He desires to be.
Matthew 6 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Many people came to hear about the kingdom and left hearing about a lifestyle in the kingdom. I would imagine most people who came to hear Jesus showed up with the expectation – what does the kingdom have for me?
Jesus asked a different question. Are you living in God’s Kingdom?
The religious dog and pony show that had become a rigid set of rules and guidelines needed to be addressed. God’s Kingdom is much more than outward appearances. Again, His message was aimed precisely at the heart – the core issue. Here in Matthew 6, Jesus gets into spiritual disciplines. Behavior is important, but character reveals the heart. He touches on the treasures of the earth. Our relationship and stewardship of resources and riches tell a lot about what we think about Jesus’ kingdom. It reveals our priorities.
Jesus was changing hearts and minds. The kingdom of heaven involved the full spectrum of Salvation. It was the foreshadowing of the Gospel. Like a farmer scattering seeds, Jesus was preparing these people to live in His established kingdom after his death, burial, and resurrection. They probably didn’t make much sense to his first audience, but we should be living these principles today. Not only are we more empowered by the Scriptures, but we have the Holy Spirit who makes it possible for us to live out these spiritual disciplines.
“The two kinds of treasures are conditioned by their place (either upon earth or in heaven). The concept of laying up treasure in heaven is not pictured as one of meritorious benefits but rather of rewards for faithful service, as is illustrated elsewhere in the teaching of Jesus. The ultimate destiny of our lives is either earthly or heavenly and the concentration of our efforts will reveal where our real treasure is.”Nelson’s New Illustrated Commentary