Journey to Jerusalem Day 4
Saturday, February 29 Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
This passage always gives me an image of what it looks like before and after Christ is in our life. In the before, the selfish desires of sin give us immediate satisfaction; in the after, we give ourselves like Jesus did.
This image presents us with great challenges for self-examination during Lent: which camp do we fall into? Why do we do what we do? Whose glory is it for? Are we giving of ourselves or for ourselves? Are we truly acting out Christ’s love?
These are all question I ask myself often; but most of the time I am too hard on myself. I need to do more. I need to serve more. I need to be in another ministry. I need to measure up and be like x, y, z. I need to be the one everyone comes too.
I imagine a lot of you feel/think this way. Personally, I am writing this for myself because I am going to need this reminder today. We need both a reminder of these questions and a slap in the face telling us that we are enough. We are loved and desired by the one living God. We are worthy of the sacrifice of the cross. We truly are.
Now humor me and say this out loud; or do the cliché, and stare in the mirror: “I am loved by God. I am desired. I am worthy. I am enough.” Sometimes we need this hard reflection and being honest with ourselves.
God tell us we are worthy, desired, enough, and loved by you. Tell us how we can reflect and improve upon ourselves. Amen.