By Doug Bell
“1¶“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 heven.
2“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...
5¶“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...
16¶“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.“
We have trouble as Christians in this life trying to keep the temporal things separated from the Eternal. It can be confusing at times. Take Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:18 ”while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” We must understand that the ‘Spiritual’ things will last for all eternity, while the ‘things you see’ are all temporary! This is why Jesus tells us after this to “store our treasures in heaven,” (vs. 19-21). Therefore, if we want our treasures to last (eternally), we must do our Spiritual Work as God dictates. As we look back at our verses above, we see how the Father wants us to ‘practice’ our faith.
When we give, we are to do it in such a way that God is glorified! He is instilling the virtue of humility in us that was in Christ Jesus. “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work,” (John 4:34). We are not here to make our own kingdom, but to help bring in His! This is to be accomplished when we ‘do His Work in His Way!‘ And when we give, “we do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets...” The Pharisees loved the praise of men, it was their life-work. When they were about to give to some poor soul, they would literally blow a little trumpet they carried. And when the crowd was big enough, then they would impart the gift. Not that they cared for the poor. They simply wanted the ‘glory from men’ and they had all the reward they would ever receive.
Not so the Christian! When we pray, we are to do it In secret (In our closet). “8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him”. But the Hypocrite, “they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets“. Imagine, being so holy that you can’t wait to get home to pray. No, they fall to their knees and pray in the middle of the street! Those around them must praise them for their piety and devotion! But, their prayers go nowhere. Because they weren’t praying to God, they were praying that they may be seen by men.
And when we fast (Notice Jesus said when, not if!) we are to do it in such a way that we don’t draw attention to ourselves. In fact, in all of life we are “to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you “ (1 Thessalonians 4:11). We see we are told “do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces...” Why? So they ‘look the part,’ “that they may appear to men to be fasting”. What’s the point, if no one sees?
All they want is to be praised by men, and that is all they will ever get.
***** As Gods children, we are to live a life for His Truth, Glory, and Praise!
1 Corinthians 10:31-
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”