Lessons from Part 2 of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount
Matthew 6 is a continuation of the longest sermon ever given by Jesus, commonly called his Sermon on the Mount (don’t forget to read my post on the first part!) It follows the same format as Matthew 5, and contains seven important guidelines for being a follower of God:
- Help others because you want to, not because you want to impress others. (6:1-4)
- Pray because you want to, not to impress others. (6:5-13)
- You have to forgive others before you can be forgiven by God. (6:14-15)
- When you fast, do it because you want to, not to impress others. (6:16-18)
- You can’t covet material possessions and serve God at the same time. (6:19-24)
- Don’t worry about having enough food or clothes, because there is more to life than that. (6:25-33)
- If you must worry, don’t worry about tomorrow. Focus on fixing today. (6:34)
What’s More Important: Impressing Others or Impressing God?
Notice that out of those seven guidelines, three of them are concerned with not doing things to impress others. You should want to help others, pray, and fast not to appear godly to others, but to appear faithful and devoted to God. Do good deeds when people aren’t watching, and God will know your intentions are pure and will reward you. If you do them simply for people to clap you on the back and tell how you’re a good person, only that will be your reward. Be honest with yourself on which you would rather have: a fleeting congratulation from people or God’s eternal approval and reward? Personally, I would rather have the latter.
This concept can be applied to the fifth instruction, as well: you shouldn’t want material possessions simply to impress people. In fact, Jesus tells us this:
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.
You can’t be obsessed with money or material possessions and still be dedicated to helping others or devoting time to God. It’s impossible to put God first if you’re spending your life worrying about getting more and more stuff. Stuff isn’t going to make your life worthwhile; loving God will.