Where our hearts are
Matthew 6: 1-4, 19-21 (NIVUK)
1 ‘Be careful not to practise your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 ‘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 honoured by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 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. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
19 ‘Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Jesus puts the highest ideals before us. In Matthew’s Gospel, he tells us something very important about service and giving. We ought not to do it for show. Do we expect a blessing in return for our charity? After all, we may say that the money we give to someone else is money that we cannot use for our own needs. The energy that we spend in serving someone else is energy that could have been directed towards our own interests. Do we not deserve some public acclaim, and certainly the approval of God? Wrong motives, says Jesus. Followers of Jesus are not supposed to put their good deeds on public display for personal praise. An act of charity is less than perfect if we look for a return. If you have been helped some time in your life by the good example of another, you will know that whatever is done with love will last for all time. The key to our choices is where our hearts are. Is my heart set on God alone? If, through any good deeds we do, the love of God draws near to others, and glory is given to God, then that is reward enough.
Lord, when I am feeling proud, pleased with myself, and contemptuous of others, remind me again that you took the role of servant, and in humility and obedience walked the road to a cruel cross. Lead me to that Cross to meet with you there, that I may know the warmth of your forgiving embrace, drawing me close to your heart, teaching me to love as you love, with my whole being. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Lent Legacy 2021 Action
Reflect — Who is it that you need to back off from in order that God’s grace can be encountered? Who is it that you could give hidden support to?