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[thoughts] Giving and Praying (July 4-10, 2005)

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  • Mark Roth
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    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 6, 2005
      I have no control over and hereby disclaim ads/links above.

      If you're going to buy at eBay or Amazon.com,
      please use my gateways!

      This edition goes out today to 3326 subscribers. Thank you!

      (Matthew 6:1-15)


      Does God fit into your giving and praying?

      How important is it to you to be heard and seen of men?


      The Christian must not seek self-glory.
      Christian living is not to be done in secrecy and isolation.
      We are as cities on hills and candles on candlesticks so that
      people may "see your good works, and glorify your Father which is
      in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). However, in their open living,
      Christians must not seek the recognition and admiration of any
      human onlooker. Our primary motivation must be the pleasure and
      glory of the Father. Our secondary motivation may include
      blessing and benefit to the "recipients" of our godly living.
      Nowhere in our motivations should we allow self --
      self-promotion, self-glory, self-admiration.

      The Father knows and cares about our motives.
      "Getting the job done" isn't God's main concern. Otherwise,
      He wouldn't care about our motives and purposes in giving and
      praying. However, this does *not* mean that I can skip praying or
      giving if my motives fail the Father's test. It *does* mean I
      must crucify self once again, asking God to "renew a right spirit
      within me" (Psalm 51:10).

      All good receives its just reward.
      No good done goes unrewarded -- because God is just. Those
      who do good to be seen of men, receive being seen of men as their
      reward, and that's all. Those who do good for the glory of God
      and the benefit of others, will likewise be rewarded. How just
      both rewards are!

      Hypocrites do not give primary consideration to God.
      Hypocrites perform for people and any temporal purposes they
      can accomplish. They are not God conscious. Or, being God
      conscious, care less about Him than they do about fooling people.


      How do we give in secret in our modern age?
      Checks and bank cards destroy anonymity. So does the need for
      a tax-deductible receipt. Even putting a folded dollar bill in a
      passed offering plate is difficult to conceal. How do we meet the
      alms-in-secret requirement?
      The answer lies in the requirement's context. Notice that
      Matthew 6:1-4 warns against giving "to be been of" and to "have
      glory of men." The passage gives ample room for this inference:
      Holy humility is the goal, not necessarily absolute anonymity.
      God doesn't expect us to sit on our right hand while our left
      hand does the giving. Rather, He doesn't want us calling
      attention to our giving, even to the figurative extent of one
      hand announcing its generosity to the other.

      Is Jesus forbidding public praying?
      Yes, if it is about being "seen of men" and not about
      communicating to God.
      Once again broadening our view to include the context, we can
      see that the Master's concern continues to be motive. He is no
      more forbidding all public prayer than He is requiring that all
      prayers be in some sort of private cubicle.
      Jesus also wants us to understand and remember the nature of
      godly prayer -- conversing and communing with God. It isn't for
      calling man's attention to the one praying. Nor is it about
      preaching to any human listeners.

      Couldn't saying The Lord's Prayer illustrate vain repetition?
      Absolutely, especially if we merely *say* it rather than
      genuinely *pray* it. Merely saying something is repeating certain
      words (audibly or mentally) with little or no thought and heart
      involved. Genuinely praying is using words to communicate our
      thoughts and heart.
      Take the following words as an example: "And forgive us our
      debts, as we forgive our debtors." I repeat those words without
      giving conscious thought to them. I can even say them *with*
      conscious thought but *without* sincere meaning; in other words,
      not allowing the words to communicate the state and commitment of
      my heart. When we say those words we had better mean them and
      live them!

      What is the cure for hypocrisy?
      In addition to those highlighted in today's passage,
      hypocrisy has many other manifestations. Whatever its
      manifestation, the cure for the basic heart problem remains the
      same -- God-consciousness. Notice how many verses in today's
      reading bring God into the picture. Since the hypocrite performs
      solely for a human audience, he needs his heart turned and tuned
      toward God. When he learns to care about and be aware of God, he
      will find deliverance from his hypocrisy.


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