Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in Heaven.
Hello my fellow Proverbs 31 Women in Progress!
I know it’s been a while that I haven’t written a post. Bouh, shame on me! But I hope you will be kind and forgive me for my long absence. I truly apologise, I mean it.
Well, today, I will talk about the powerful Sermon of Jesus found in Matthew 6 and more specifically about important pillars of a solid Christian life:
- charitable giving
Pillar #1: Charitable giving
Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
Charity is always emphasized in the Bible in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament. I’ve always wondered why until I realized that charity serves God’s purpose for the society. When a person is blessed with financial well-being, we shouldn’t only keep our money for ourselves. Money is not supposed to be hoarded but to flow. Charity also shows that you can be selfless and that you don’t only care about yourself, but also about your neighbour. By underlining the importance of charity, Jesus reminds us that one of the greatest commandments is that we should love our neighbour like ourselves.
The Proverbs 31 woman also extends her arms to the needy. No wonder charity is so important to have a living Christian life!
The problem is that some people want to be admired so much that they feel that they have to advertise their charitable deeds. This is unbiblical and utterly unrefined. Nobody needs to know how much you gave this organization or that person. When you see such a person, Jesus warns us that the person is a hypocrit who has an ulterior motive and wants to hide his/her true nature. We should always keep our charitable giving between God, the person or the organization, and ourselves (and of course, with the Tax Administration when necessary!).
I encourage you to be charitable because all Christians should be. You shouldn’t even give a huge amount of money. You can be charitable with your time, your skills or your knowledge. The point is that you should serve the Lord and be useful for your community. And don’t brag about it!
Pillar #2: Prayer
And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Matthew 6: 5-7
Prayer is also very important in our Christian life because it reminds us our dependence upon God and that we are His creatures. It also also a source of comfort, strength and courage. I can testify that when I have prayed on my problems, a solution was always given by the Lord – even if it wasn’t always the result I expected.
Prayer is our way to communicate with God and to have the experience of His presence.
Jesus gives us 3 rules for prayer:
- Don’t pray for show: those hypocrits, again! We shouldn’t pray because we want to be seen or admired. We don’t have to be extravagant or to shout aloud when we pray. Prayer should be sincere and come from our hearts; it should display reverence for the Lord. Prayer should never be considered as an opportunity to show off and to put yourself in a position where the attention is only on you
- Go to a secret place (your room): of course, you can pray with the community when your are in your Church. However, if you want to pray, go to a quiet place. Jesus Himself went to isolated places to pray. When Jesus suggested to go to your room, it’s because it’s a place where you can be quiet and be focused on communicating with the Lord. However, I’ve heard that some people have a specific room to pray and meditate the Bible. If you have enough space in your place to design such a room, go for it. Otherwise, your bedroom will just be fine 🙂
- Do not use vain repetitions: prayer is a conversation with God, not incantations of magic. When you ask for something, please know that He already heard it. And He knows what’s best for you before yourself. God is neither stupid nor deaf
Pillar #3: Fasting
Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.
Matthew, 6: 16-18
Fasting is a way of penance, but also to be closer to God by abstaining from food and/or water for a specific period. Traditionally, as fasting was a way to ask for forgiveness, people used to behave as if they were grieving. They were obviously sad or sat on ashes for example. However, Jesus shows us that when we fast, we should live our daily lives as usual. We should not strive to impress men with our ability to fast, but we should rather focus on our relationship with God.
Well, that’s all for Jesus lessons for today!
What do you think of these 3 pillars? Please share your point of view!