Excerpt and Insight from today’s reading
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“Let your good deeds shine out for all to see” vs. “Give your gifts in private”—did Jesus contradict himself?


Excerpt from today’s reading:


1“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. 2When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. 3But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

5“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. 6But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

7 “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. 8Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”


Daily insight:


Jesus had just told his followers in Matthew 5:16 to let their light shine in order to be seen. Now he tells them not to do good works in order to be seen (6:1). Why the apparent contradiction? From the context, it’s clear that motive makes the difference. If we shine so that God may be glorified, shining is good. If we show off in order to glorify ourselves, we can expect no reward from God.


Adapted from the Daily Walk Devotional by Walk Thru the Bible www.walkthru.org.