by Bruce Hanson
“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.” Matthew 6:1-4
When I was a Tootsie Roll Midgie, 70 years ago, there was a commercial that always caught my eye. It was for the Cloverleaf Dog Track, north of Denver.
What captured my attention was the nature of the races. There was an automated rabbit that every single dog wanted to catch, and they raced like crazy to catch it. They never did, but they never stopped trying.
In today’s passage, there is a subliminal message and I think it has nothing to do with going incognito.
Later in Matthew, Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6: “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” *
* See also, 1 Samuel 15:22.
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick, but go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’
For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:10-13
Throughout the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is concerned about the condition of our hearts, our motivation for all the things we do. If we do them to be seen, to enable regular back patting, it is SACRIFICE. And if that be our purpose, we will be like the dogs chasing that rabbit. We will never catch it. Is this what
“Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” Romans 15:2
That is MERCY. And that is Jesus’ desire for each one of us.
Ditch the cape and mask (-B
Be motivated by LOVE!!
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