This verse is taken from:
Matthew 6. 1-5
Thought of the day for:
11 July 2024

The verses that form our reading for today clearly establish that giving to the poor is the right thing to do. Having a concern for the needy is a demonstration of the compassion that the Lord Himself displayed. How sad when, ‘Our sinful nature is so sub­tle that it can defile even a good thing like sharing with the poor’, W. Wiersbe.

Quite what the Lord meant by sounding a trumpet is diffi­cult to determine today, nevertheless the idea is immortalised in the phrase ‘blowing your own trumpet’! Whatever we seek to do in our Christian lives, whether giving, praying, or fasting, we should seek to do it secretly. Essentially, the matter is between us and the Lord. What we give is generated by the fact that ‘God hath prospered’, 1 Cor. 16. 2, and is not a matter of our own gen­erosity. How we pray, as when and how we fast, should be an issue of personal exercise. However, the key to all three activities is the approval of the Father and not the recognition of our fel­low men. The Lord clearly taught, ‘thy Father … shall reward thee openly’, vv. 4, 18. Similarly, a forgiving attitude will bring forgiveness from the Father, v. 14.

That all three activities described should provide an oppor­tunity to draw attention to oneself, the Lord denounces. it is hypocrisy, the wearing of a mask, the playing out of a part. The motivation is aptly described, ‘to be seen’, v. 1, ‘that they may be seen of men’, v. 5, ‘that they may appear unto men’, v. 16. It is all an empty show! Sadly, the hypocrite has chosen the temporal praise of men as their reward: ‘the glory they receive from men is their reward. Their account is closed; nothing goes forward to heaven’, J. Heading. At the end of this life, all is lost!

That lost sinners should be preoccupied with immediate gain and the enhancement of their reputation amongst men is hardly surprising. To think that those who profess to be followers of Christ should pursue the plaudits of men and the popularity of the hour is strange indeed. Yet the record of scripture leaves ample warning about the reality of the snare. The words of the serpent to Eve suggested a life-enhancing experience: ‘ye shall be as gods’, Gen. 3. 5. Generations have been similarly duped!


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