Sunday, January 13, 2013

Day 11: Matthew 6

I have included a brief paraphrasing of each section, along with my thoughts in bold.

Matthew 6

v. 1-4

Be righteous for God, not others, or else it is useless.

Give quietly and secretly; The Lord will reward you for this.

This first section strikes me pretty hard.  I feel like our human efforts at righteousness are all too often rooted in trying to impress someone else, other than God.  Its all a part of how we have been conditioned to train our behavior rather than our heart.  How useless. 

The part about giving reminds me of how I get kind of irritated with how some churches do tithing, actually.  If we are supposed to give secretly and quietly, then why do we have ushers pass a bowl down the aisle during service?  And why do we have pre-printed giving envelopes to keep track of our giving?  And why do we write checks (which contain information to identify who is giving)?   And why do we write off our giving as part of a tax deduction?
This makes me feel like hijacking the whole system and just randomly sending envelopes of money to whatever church or ministry God leads me to support.  If it is supposed to be done secretly, why would I show the whole church I’m doing it?

v. 5-15

Pray in private to your Father.  Pray simply without babble.  God already knows what you need to pray.  Pray as Jesus taught:

                “Our Father…”

Forgive others and He will forgive you

These verses are a little difficult for my brain and heart to take.  I love to pour out everything in my mind and heart in order to help myself to process – and I know the Lord wants to hear everything I have to say – when it says to pray without lots of words, I think it means to pray truth, not try to say something without saying it.  Speak plainly would maybe be a better way to state it. 

Forgive others and He will forgive you…oh, boy.  This is such a hard one.  Sometimes I realize how much I actually hold onto in my heart without forgiving and it makes me wonder how He ever forgave us!

v. 16-18

When you fast, only let God know you are doing it – for this he will reward you.

I think it is important to remember why you are doing things like fasting…for the Lord.  I don’t find harm in sharing the act with others though in regards to encouraging others in their faith or teaching.

v. 19-24

Great guiding verses in trying to figure out what to keep and what to get rid of!

Do not invest in things here on earth that will break or be stolen, instead invest in heavenly things; those things cannot be broken or taken away.  What you invest in says a lot about where your heart is!

(Look up vs. 22-23)

You can either serve God, or you can serve money.  If you decide to love money, you will hate God.  You  can only serve and fully worship one god.

I want to invest in people and my relationship with God.  Those things will last forever.  I do not want to dwell on THINGS.  I don’t want to want more and more possessions, I want to give and be happy in what the Lord has provided for me!  

I love that even way back in Jesus’ time, God knew money would be a struggle for most people throughout time.  You cannot love money, as our society does, and still fully worship God.  That is clear.  Looks like we have some changing to do if we want to be true followers and truly devoted to our Lord.

v. 25-34

God takes care of all of His creation.  He does not want us to worry about what we will eat, drink or wear.  He’s got our back.

“[We must] seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these [other] things will be given to [us] as well.” V. 33

We mustn’t worry about our days to come, we should take care of the day we are in and allow each following day to be taken care of in its own time.

The part about not worrying about the future concerns me a bit.  Justin likes to stock up on water and bullets and plan for dramatic things to happen; he has also been taught to “be prepared” (thanks to the Boy Scouts).  I don’t think it is bad to be prepared…I think it turns bad when it is all you think about – or WORRY about.  It is okay to have extra food and water stored, as long as you aren’t focusing your energy worrying about those horrid days that may perhaps come your way.  Take care of this day you have been given first and enjoy each day as it comes your way.  God ultimately provides.

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