Note: This series is written as a first-person narrative in order to present Jesus in the context he walked with the unknown disciple that narrates presenting my thoughts and sparking more thoughts with his questions.
Jesus met my eyes for a second, then moved on, scanning the crowd. The mountain is full of people who have been following him. After finishing speaking on the Law, we waited to see if he is going to say more.
“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.”
Wait a minute, he just said, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” I know rabbis like to make you think rather than just give you information. How do these verses reconcile?
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 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.”
Ah, earlier was about letting my actions glorify God. Now he’s warning about not doing things to get attention for me. If I do, I get no reward really, just my ego stroked.
If I do it because it’s right, with no one watching or with no attempt to impress others, God honors that. He won’t honor pretentious religiosity.