Matthew 5-6, Psalm 83
Sir Nicholas Winton, in 1938, just before Czechoslovakia was completely occupied by Nazi Germany quietly went to work. He rushed in and quickly set up a system to transport Jewish children by train, who would otherwise have been brought soon after to the concentration camps, into the Netherlands, and from there to Britain. There he found homes for the children to live in. His quiet works led to the saving of 669 Jewish children. Most of their parents perished in Auschwitz concentration camp. He kept there pictures in a log along with where they were placed, and told no one. 50 years later, while his wife was rummaging through the attic she came upon this photo album/journal. She gave it to a journalist who assembled, without his knowledge the now grown children that he helped to save. In a moving acknowledgment to him they recognized and celebrated what he had done. The British press dubbed him the "British Shindler". Sir Norman Winton did his charitable deeds quietly as Jesus describes in the verses below.
Jesus strongly confronted hypocrisy. In fact of the 31 times the word, hypocrisy, is used in Scripture, 21 times it comes directly from the mouth of Jesus. In Matthew 6:1-4, we read, "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly." Jon Courson says in his commentary that though the charitable giving and taking was initially set up on the temple grounds to be done discreetly for both parties. At the time of Jesus, the Pharisees literally tied a little brass or silver trumpet to their belts. Whenever they wanted to give they would blow their trumpet on the street corner so that all the poor would come running and gather around the "generous" Pharisee, hoping everyone would say, "My! Look how righteous he is!".
Consider how this warning by Jesus is not heeded now. In many churches and synagogues, your giving is reflected on plaques with your name, building projects with your name, and in some places where you sit in the congregation. Consider the celebrities who always have a crew following them whenever they do charitable deeds so that it can be publicized for their acknowledgment. This should never be our mentality. Jesus says in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Whatever we do, in prayer, in worship, in giving, in fasting, etc should be done for Him and not to draw attention to ourselves. When we pray publicly it is to Him and not to impress others. When we sing we shouldn't hold that note a little longer or move more robustly if the purpose is to show others how into it you are. May we do all for His glory. In Matthew 6:33, Jesus says it so clearly, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: