“Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them.”

Moving into chapter six, Jesus continues to address His disciples (Mt 6:1-6, 16-18).  He begins with the directive above, addressing specifically almsgiving.  Jesus says to do this in secret, unlike “the hypocrites” who let everyone know of their good works.  The same is true for prayer: do not seek attention from other persons for yourself when praying.  Finally, Jesus addresses fasting, again chastising hypocritical behavior that draws attention to oneself; rather, let your appearance not betray your sacrifice.  Almsgiving, prayer, fasting.  Christ esteems these “righteous deeds” and assumes we are doing them.  If we aren’t doing them regularly we must examine why not and start today.  If we are doing them, we must approach them properly.  Is almsgiving regular, substantial as means allow, and to causes that advance the Kingdom?  Is prayer daily, incorporating each of: Adoration (worshiping God), Confession (sorrow for sins), Thanksgiving (thanking God), and Supplication (asking for our and others’ needs)?  Do we, at least at times. fast from certain foods, drink, entertainment or other goods and unite this sacrifice with our Lord’s sacrifice while strengthening or own resolve against evil?  Jesus said the hypocrites, who do all the good deeds of almsgiving, prayer, and fasting, are already repaid because they receive the human esteem they seek without concern for the only approval that should matter: that of God.  As for us, we must eschew a desire for acclamation for any good we do.  And if we do receive accolades or thanks for something positive we have contributed, we should accept it humbly, thankfully, gracefully, and with acknowledgement of the One who is the source of “all good giving and every perfect gift” (Jas 1:17).

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