Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever 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. “And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Food for Thought:
This has always been one of my favorite passages of Scripture. In this passage, the author reminds us not to store up treasures here on earth. There are countless shows on TV devoted to people having too many things. “Hoarders,” “Storage Wars,” “Hoarding: Buried Alive,” are just a few examples of these types of shows. I often think about how much stuff we accumulate in our modern day culture. Most Americans amass tons of stuff. Stuff that we don’t need; just stuff. Researchers have even done studies on this phenomenon. They have discovered that we are stressed out because of our stuff. We have so much stuff to maintain or worry about being stolen, that we have stressed ourselves out. Think today about what is cluttering your life. Do something to de-clutter and de-stress this day — and remember that our possessions do not define us.
Righteous God, in humility and repentance, we bring our failures in caring, helping, and loving; we bring the pain we have caused one another, and we bring the injustice in society of which we are a part. We ask for the transforming power of your grace. Grant us the courage to accept the healing you offer and to turn again toward you so that we may walk with you in the promise of peace you have willed for all the children of the earth and have made known to us in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.