I love the way Jesus taught. He didn’t try to impress others with His knowledge. He didn’t try to impress others by using big words hoping that others would think He is super-intelligent. When Jesus taught He usually used every day examples to reinforce His point. He used experiences that His students knew so that they would be able to relate the teaching to everyday life. I really want to teach as Jesus taught. I want my conduct as a writer and teacher of God’s Word to demonstrate humiity. I don’t need to impress anyone…I need to serve Christ. After all, my conduct reflects my heart. And if I am being sanctified by Christ, my heart should be humble.

In my last article I introduced the idea that humility is a necessary part of the Christian life. I introduced it through discussing Matthew 6:1. In this article I want to continue through that passage but use some examples from my life that I think everyone recognizes. But before we meet these two men from my life, lets observe what Jesus said in Matthew 6.

  “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.” Matthew 6:1-8 NASB

Since we already discussed verse one, let’s start this article with verse two and continue through the examples Jesus gives.

“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” 

In these verses Jesus is specifically speaking about giving to the poor among us. But I think we can take a general approach to this and include al types of service to others. We sometimes get caught up serving others while making it known that we’re serving others. That really isn’t the type of giving or serving that Jesus desires from us. The stress in this passage is on quiet giving. Jesus wants us to give to the poor without making a fuss about it. He wants us to give without receiving any attention from others or accolades from others for what we give. This can also be applied to serving others as well.

Don’t be like the hypocrites

A hypocrite is someone who says one thing and does another. The Greek word was used of actors who hid behind a mask as they payed their part in a play. That is an excellent image of a hypocrite as used here by Jesus. A hypocrite is an actor. He isn’t truthful about who he is or what he does. Everything – or at east nearly everything – he says and does doesn’t match with WHO he is.

During Jesus’ day, the Pharisees made a show of their giving. They made sure that everyone saw them give to the poor. They were so concerned with looking concerned about the plight of the poor. But that is where it ended. They only wanted to look concerned…they didn’t really care about anyone except themselves.

The Pharisees were masters of looking holy and righteous. They were great actors. They could put on a show that could win an award for the best actor category. We have some of these guys around today, we just don’t call them Pharisees. I bet you have met some of these modern-day Pharisees. As a Pastor I had a few in the flock I shepherded. I’ll call one of them George (not his real name).

Communication with God

“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.”

Prayer is intimate communication with God. We should be willing to bare our souls to God in prayer. We need to be totally honest wit God. After all He already knows what you’re going to say before you say it. An important aspect of prayer is the effect it has on us. It should humble us. When we call out to God we acknowledge that we are not self-sufficient. We acknowledge that we do not have all the answers. Prayer humbles us. Or at least it should.

The Pharisees in Jesus’ day and George from my own life experiences loved to pray for a show. They would stand up, project their prayers so everyone around them would see how holy and righteous they were. But that is just their problem. They only look to be holy. It is all an act. But not everybody acts this way.

But just like we have folks like the Pharisees, we have folks who imitate Christ today. A person like this in my life is a young man named Jerry (not his real name). When the church I pastored was split and we found ourselves without someone to lead the singing part of our worship, I turned to Jerry since he is a gifted singer and worship leader. I asked if he knew anyone in our area that could help us out. After a few days of looking for someone, he texted me and said “I’m coming up with nothing…I guess you’re stuck with me.” At first I couldn’t believe what I read. I confirmed he was serious. wow, what a blessing this was. Jerry led singing for us for a number of months. He travelled about 90 minutes one-way to get to us and serve Christ in our small, dying congregation. He was faithful and humble. He wouldn’t accept money from us for even his expense in driving up to us. He was – and is – a servant of Christ.

So who do you resemble more, Jerry or George? I know both these men and I can tell you without hesitation that I want to be like Jerry. There are many Georges in the world…and the church. We need more Jerrys. We need more Christians like Jerry who simply want to serve Christ. They care more about the Church than about themselves.

So, are you a Jerry or George? Do you want to be seen or do you want to serve? Do you want to serve or beserved? What kind of heart do you have? Your conduct reflects the state of your heart.

Is your heart proud or humble? 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s