“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven…No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money (Matt 6:1 & 24).”
In Matthew 6, Jesus calls people to shape their lives to worship God by addressing daily and religious practices. His point is that when we give, when we pray, when we fast, and when we spend money, we should do it for God’s approval not human approval. We don’t need to attract lots of attention to what we’re doing for God; we can let God attract attention to Himself through how He’s called us to live for Him. As a result, I’m asking myself these types of questions:
1) Will I live for God or will I live to make sure people look up to me? Sometimes we do kind/nice/generous things for the sake of status or significance in other people’s eyes. We need to remember that ultimately we are nobody’s savior. Do I want people to see “me” as the example for good Christian living or do I simply want people to see Christ in me?
2) Will I live for God or will I live to make sure others think of me as better than them? Sometimes we do “religious” things so that others will see how good we are and how good they are not. The Pharisees did it (Luke 18:9-14), and many of us Christians live that way today. We need to confess that arrogance as sin, and humbly live to serve God.
3) Will I live for God or will I live to make money? One of the things I think we see from Jesus’ life and mission in each of the gospels is that generosity reflects God more than selfishness. God gives us wealth so that we’ll care for people in need. If you drive a car or have more than one pair of underwear, you’re wealthier than most of the world. As followers of Jesus in the United States of America we need to ask ourselves, “Are we living to increase our wealth or are we living to reflect God through generosity?”
4) Will I live for God or will I live to acquire for myself as much as I can store up? We live in a society that encourages us to buy and acquire as much as we can attain. The problem is that we often acquire so many possessions that owning them becomes a drain on our finances. Then we find ourselves in a spot where we can no longer provide for ourselves or be generous with others. That may mean that we need to do more than just temporarily fast from those possessions. We may need to let go of them forever. It’s not wrong to buy things or own things, but it is self-destructive to be consumed by them.
I ask these questions because I want to give God space in my life to purify my intentions and my motives. For the sake of our Savior, I invite you to join me.