Quietly (Matthew 6:17-18)

Photo by Alex Bertha on Unsplash

Jesus has instructed His followers about giving, prayer and fasting. These three  spiritual  disciplines have some common elements, which Jesus has highlighted in His teaching: 

About giving, He said, “But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Commentator John Nolland wrote, “The point about the left hand not knowing could be that such a tight circle of privacy would eliminate the possibility of building up one’s own image even in one’s own eyes (in the imagery left and right hands, in practical activity, are very close together—much closer to each other than to the head or eyes). The alternative is that such a restriction of knowledge would certainly eliminate any possibility of public acclaim.

About prayer, He said, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Warren Wiersbe said of that, “The first step toward overcoming hypocrisy is to be honest with God in our secret life. We must never pray anything that we do not mean from the heart; otherwise, our prayers are simply empty words. Our motive must be to please God alone, no matter what men may say or do. We must cultivate the heart in the secret place. It has well been said, “The most important part of a Christian’s life is the part that only God sees.

About fasting, He said, “But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” LeRoy Lawson wrote, “To exercise the discipline properly requires neither sackcloth and ashes nor hunger pains and dry tongue. Rather, a conscious and conscientious denial of self for the sake of another is what constitutes fasting. It is identifying with the miserable, the hungry, the thirsty, and the naked.

This common theme tells us that Jesus wanted His followers to practice their spiritual disciplines without drawing attention to themselves. In fact, He expected them to take steps to ensure that what they do does not become public. Their motive must be pure. All of the focus driving their activity is to be on one’s own relationship with God, and not any of it is to be on self-glorification. Only God has the right to glorify Himself, for only God is God. His people must therefore be about glorifying Him, not themselves. As God is unseen (yet sees all), it serves best that the believer who wants to commune with Him act as He does: That we bless Him in giving while unseen. That we speak to Him in confidence while unseen. And that we beseech Him for His best for others, likewise unseen.

If we be sincere in our solemn fasts, and humble, and trust God’s omniscience for our witness, and his goodness for our reward, we shall find, both that he did see in secret, and will reward openly. Religious fasts, if rightly kept, will shortly be recompensed with an everlasting feast.

Matthew Henry

APPLICATION: Thankfulness

Meditate on Revelation 22:12, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.” Thank God that He sees all you do for Him and His Kingdom.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *