“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.
“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. - Matthew 6:1-18
In today’s teaching, we begin a three-session walkthrough of the three pillars of Jesus’ faith:righteousness, prayer, and fasting. Marc places this teaching in the context of Jesus’ day to show us that “righteousness” is walked out in how we relate to others and how we care for their needs.
Jesus clearly defined righteousness when He said to the righteous, “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you cared for me.” When we care for others’ needs—regardless of what that need is—we are practicing the righteousness of Jesus.
Question: Review the list you made at the beginning of today’s teaching. What actions do you need to make this week to bring your three pillars into better alignment with Jesus?
Family Chat: Who is someone you can serve and expect nothing in return for it? (remember this will be hard to not expect something from them)
Prayer Starter: Jesus, please give me Your eyes to see those around me the way You see them. Empower me with compassion through Your Holy Spirit to care for them, love them, and provide for their needs without expecting anything in return.
Take Action: Do something for someone else in need this week. You can can join Serve Saturday, in person or virtually. Sign up by texting SERVESATURDAY to 88000 and mark your calendar for the next one in your community!