Greeting to you, a precious Child of God.
You are invited to read the following verses from Matthew, Jesus is talking to you.
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
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. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
After reading these words from Jesus, many of us will conclude with one main thought. I am glad that these harsh words from our loving, kind, gentle, Jesus do not apply to me.
They are speaking to us now about who are we. Regardless of our spiritual discipline, the questions it raises are; what are we doing and how are we living?
The point of this story is not how or if we give, oh, yes giving is essential, for without giving we have nothing. The central teaching points out that Jesus is talking to you not merely about your giving but your lifestyle of spiritual devotion. Reread the story, very slowly, even in private, in a quiet moment. Imagine that Jesus is talking to you about not only your giving, or public display of piety but your lifestyle of spiritual devotions. What are your spiritual disciplines, habits, practices, and experiences that are designed to develop, grow, and strengthen the qualities of your relationship to God that are building muscles of the soul that reaches beyond yourself to God?
What are your spiritual practices, are you living in ways that you believe allows you to be closer to God but moves you further away? The critical element of this story is our practice of the ways we reach beyond ourselves to God, not the outward methods per se but the deep inward practices of the soul.
Pastor, David A.E. Whitt