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Matthew 6: 1

Take care not to practice your righteousness in the sight of people, to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.

The idea I wish to share with you today will encompass more than just this first verse of chapter six, but let’s pause here and hear what Jesus is going to speak about.

When I read this recently it got my attention differently than ever before. I read this first verse and stopped in my tracks because of two things I heard. First, Jesus is going speak with us about righteousness. What is it and how in the world do we practice it? The part that really got my attention, though, is at the end. Jesus said that the Father would reward us for practicing our righteousness. What? Let that sink in for a moment. What does that mean and who ever thought that Father rewards us for acts of righteousness?

Can we be honest with one another for a moment? Some people are so “holy” and self-righteous that they scoff at the idea of Father rewarding us for anything. In their minds, we are to be servants of God and not expect anything in return. Let me be blunt. They are wrong. Well, either they are wrong, or Jesus is because he is about to speak with us about rewards. This first verse is a caution because Jesus doesn’t want us to lose our reward.

We need to understand that God doesn’t want servants. He can make those. He didn’t send Jesus to earth so that He could get a bunch of slaves or employees. Yahweh wanted kids. He sent Jesus to earth to build a family. Those people who scoff at the idea of Father rewarding us are actually trying to earn their righteousness. They probably don’t even realize that is what they are doing but, in their hearts, they don’t believe they are worthy of the Father’s promises. The rest of us know we aren’t worthy and that sets us free because we have accepted Jesus’ substitutionary miracle, our brokenness for his righteousness. In these next lines, Jesus is going to teach us exactly what he wants from us. He is going to show us what practicing righteousness looks like and, yes, he is going to speak to us about rewards.

Get ready! This is going to be a short, but fun, study. Perhaps you wish to save today’s Word of the Day because next week’s will pick up where we leave off today.

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