For the Jews there were three significant religious duties, giving, praying, fasting.
Jesus takes them one at a time. Each section starts with a rather ridiculous example of someone
doing it to show off. Then he says if that’s what you want, then enjoy it because that’s all the
reward you’re going to get. But if you do it in secret then your father who sees in secret will
Scene 1.Giving to the needy and then he paints a picture of somebody sounding a trumpet
“gather round everybody because you’re about to see me giving to the needy.”
It’s awful isn’t it
Scene 2 Praying: Here’s someone going into the Main Street and waiting until there’s a
crowd and spreading his arms and praying in a loud voice.
Scene 3 Fasting. Here’s someone fasting and he gets out the mascara and makes himself
hideous so people will ask what’s wrong with you and he says oh it’s nothing I’m just fasting.
It’s what I do. It makes me humble, you know.
Jesus is saying three things.
1.don't stop. You might be getting it wrong but that doesn't mean it's wrong to do it. He
says when you give when you pray when you fast, don’t stop doing these things, but
change your motivation.
2.Remember who you're doing it for. You're not doing it for people's good opinion.
You're doing it for God so do it in secret for God.
3.God sees what you are doing and he rewards you. Three times Jesus says “Your father
who sees what you do in secret will reward you.” Is it wrong to do things for God
because you want a reward? No. That’s Jesus point. Do it to get the reward. God will
reward you. He has promised. But recognize that this is not a cash exchange. God will
decide what & when the reward will be.
So what are your religious duties? Let's be honest, you might be offended that I would call them
religious duties, but bear with me for a moment and let's have a think. What are the things that
you regularly do for God that have become part of your Christian timetable?
Maybe it's your daily quiet time, your prayer time, grace before meals
At church you're on a roster, leading something, morning tea, kids work, giving.
Outside of church, home group, teaching English, Scripture teaching prayer meeting.
What does Jesus want to say to you about these things?
a)don’t stop doing them. They are not bad things, they are good.
b) remember who you’re doing them for. You are doing them for people yes but not for
the applause, but to serve them. But over and above all that, you’re doing it for God
not to impress him but to please him. There’s a subtle difference.
I’ll show you here’s a little girl who makes a birthday card and presents it to daddy. There are
two possible questions on her mind:
i)Do you think it’s a good card?
ii)Do you like it?
Do you see the difference? One is about me seeking affirmation for myself for the quality of
my workmanship for the sacrifice I put into it. The other is about giving pleasure to father.
And the father looks at it and it’s not a good card but he says “It’s the most wonderful card in
the whole world.” Why? Because it was done as an act of love.
c)Know that God will reward you. You’re not doing it for the reward. You’re doping it
because your King has called you to, but be assured that your Master is pleased with
what you do.
So, dear friends, keep on doing what Your Lord has called you to, without bragging or
complaining. Remember Who you’re doing it for,
And Your Father Who sees what is done in secret will reward you.