Secrecy

Reading Matthew 6 this week.  Pretty interesting stuff going on here, guys.

In Matt 6:2-4, again in Matt 6:5-6, and then yet again in Matt 6:16-18 Christ speaks of doing good works, praying, and fasting in secret.
These things are not to be “announce it with trumpets” or “to be seen by men.”

Yikes.

How many times have I prayed so I can make sure other people hear me or to “influence” someone by what I’ve done?  Why is there this idea that if I tell people I’ve given money to those in need or served them in some way that they’ll think I’m a swell guy and feel the desire to serve the poor themselves?

I’ve heard a lot of preachers and fellow christians alike annouce with a trumpet or pray publicly.  I know less that do these things in secret.  If everyone kept these things a secret would I then say I don’t know anyone who gives or prays or fasts because they’ve never told me?  I don’t know.  Is this acceptible behaviour?  I don’t know.  I mean I’m not even supposed to let my left hand know what the right hand is doing. That’s crazy talk!!  THEY’RE RIGHT NEXT TO EACH OTHER, JESUS.  That’s a serious statement.  Try asking your dog not to chase it’s tail.

It was most confusing to me because in the previous chapter Christ had just instructed us to be a city on a hill so that men can see your good deeds and praise our Father in heaven.  Why is there seemingly a contradiction?

I know that the Holy Spirit will guide me.  If I live by the spirit i will not gratify the desires of my sinful nature.  What are those desires, Mr Galatians?  Well, one is selfish ambition.  What’s my reward if I give and can’t get applauded by my friends?  What’s my reward if I fast and don’t receive sympathy from my peers?  What’s my reward if I pray and don’t get acknowledged by my elders?  Christ is.
BAM.

So I suppose things would have been easier if chronologically speaking the Salt and the Light talk were after the secrecy bits in Matthew.  Only when our reward is Christ for the things we do will we be that city on a hill.  Only when my good works aren’t motivated by human applaud can I receive true acclaim.

Will I pray tonight?   Where’s my money going?   Am I fasting?
Suppose you’ll never know.