Matthew 6 – Observations
There are some things that Christians just do. They help others, pray and fast. There are a lot more things of course but I’m focusing on those for a reason. At the time that Jesus lived in Jerusalem, these were some of the things that were being done by the Pharisees and scribes to prove their “holiness”. The thing about it was: they were doing it for the wrong reasons. They had gotten caught up in doing so that they forgot why they were doing it.
Isn’t that just like us though? We sometimes get so caught up in the act that we lose sight of the purpose of what we’re doing. For so many years God had told his people through the prophets that he desires mercy not sacrifice. He wanted their hearts to be in the right place, he didn’t care so much about the blood.
Yet here he was again – sending the same message
through his son. Maybe God hoped that the words of the Messiah would have
greater weight to the people of Israel (a little like the landowner in Mark 12:1-9).
There was so much compassion for his people that God sent the message again:
“Don’t do good things because you’re trying to impress other people. Do it because you love me.
Don’t pray and use a lot of empty words because people are hearing you, I’m not impressed by your vocabulary. I just want your heart to be clean. Don’t pray because you want people to see you doing it, pray because you want to have a conversation with me.
Don’t fast just because you want people to know you fast, I’m the only person who should know that you’re fasting. Fasting isn’t a burden for you to wear on your face; it’s a gift that brings you closer to me.”
This message is still ours today. God wants to save us so much that he reminds us constantly that we need to get our heart right. Are we doing things for the right reasons? Is our heart right with God?
Father in heaven, forgive us where we have done the right things for the wrong reasons. Teach us to love you and to serve you with all our heart and all our might and all our soul. Help us not to be hearers of the word but doers also. Thank you for your mercy on us that you continue to teach and to pursue us in order to save us. Help us to accept your mercy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.