Saturday, May 30, 2009

Our God is a Matthew 6 God - Part 1

Today is the first day of a new series here at Be a Barnabas. God placed on my heart several months ago the scriptures and lessons found in Matthew 6. To me, this chapter is the foundation of our faith. In Jesus' own words I learned to be humble, how to pray and why I should give all of my worries to God.

Over the next few weeks, we will break down this chapter. Please share your thoughts and the lessons you learned by posting a comment below. I pray this time is an inspiration to you as we renew our faith in Christ Jesus. I also encourage you to read these words for yourself in your own Bible. To me, it is so much more powerful to hold God's Word in my hands. It gives it new life as I read and flip through the pages. I've provided the scriptures to our first lesson below for you as well, and I pray that God blesses you richly as you draw closer to Him and His Word.

Matthew 6:1-4

Giving to the needy.

1"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2"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 men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

When I first read this, I was puzzled. What about those faith-based organizations that continually solicit funds, have commercials everywhere and "announce with trumpets" the good things that they are doing for the poor and needy of the world?

Is this all wrong?

It depends. God has used these people. God is using these people. But, one question stands out to me as I reflect on Matthew 6:1-4:

What is my focus?

That is what Jesus is telling us here. He is not telling us not to put the word out. He is not telling us not to show others what the needs are in our community. He is not telling us to serve the needy and keep their needs quiet.

But, He is telling us not to be boastful, not to be prideful, and to love and serve with humility. He is telling us to keep our hearts in the right place. To love and serve His children for His glory, not our own.

Proverbs 11:2 (NIV) states: When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with humility comes wisdom.

Pride is an ugly thing, and it is so easy to slip into it that often we don't realize we are in it until we are steeped in a sticky mess. Where do you seek your reward? From above? Or, from man?

I pray I always seek my reward from the Father. I pray that it doesn't matter to me who sees me work, worship or my good deeds. I pray that my heart and focus are set above where Christ is seated at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:3).

If you find yourself suffering from pride today, it's okay. Just ask God for forgiveness and step forward in a new day of service. We all fall short. I've experienced pride, but the key is to know it, and to ask for forgiveness and get back in step with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus is so good and forgiving. I am nothing without Him (John 15:5). No matter how far you've stepped out of line, God is there waiting with the road map and the neon signs to get you back on track.

I pray God's blessings over you and your family this week. May He prosper you in all things for His service.

To be used by Him,

Chelle and BaB


Patricia PacJac Carroll said...

Followng Jesus is such a narrow path. Can't do it on our own or we'll into a ditch. Good words.

Be a Barnabas said...

Thanks, Patty, for your comment and for stopping by!

Chelle and BaB