January 18, 2006 • By Ed Wrather
Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by 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. And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. - Matthew 6:1-6.
Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury.” - Matthew 12:41-43.
A high school in Minnesota thought that a person of English nobility had visited them. Supposedly, this was the Fifth Duke of Cleveland, Caspian James Crichton-Stuart IV, 27th in line for the British throne. “Caspian” talked with a British accent and he requested that those addressing him call him, “Your Grace.” He also had some great stories about celebrities he knew and how the Queen herself had told him to clean up his room. However, he was actually 22-year-old Joshua Garner, a s_x offender on probation pretending to be 17 years of age. Reporters for the school newspaper, thankfully, uncovered the truth about this pretender.
In the days, that Jesus walked upon this earth in the flesh there were some great religious pretenders. They were the important religious people of the day made up of Pharisees and Sadducees - and likely others who had great wealth. Jesus called them “hypocrites.” Why? Because they acted like they were holier than others when they actually were not. In other words, they were pretending to be something that they were not. Some made a show of giving their money and likely it did appear to be much money to the man on the street. However, as Jesus pointed out it did not cost them anything to give what they gave because it just came out of the excess of their wealth. Others loved to pray loud and long loving the attention that they received from those who were watching. They had their reward.
In the religious world today, we still have our pretenders. There are still those who make a big show of giving when actually it costs them very little. While others who have very little make great sacrifices to give monetarily very little. Jesus makes it clear which are really giving. There, also, are still those in the religious world who make a great show of how holy they are when they pray. But they are not the only religious pretenders are they? There are many others.
Too many have a tendency after being a Christian for a few years to begin to think that they are better than others that are not yet Christians. We have a tendency to forget from whence we have come. Where did we come from? Paul says we are all sinners (Romans 3:23). Let us not pretend that we were ever perfect or even near perfect because only our Lord Jesus lived a perfect life upon this earth.