“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get.” Matthew 6:1-2
As we start into Chapter 6 of the Sermon. Jesus now turns to the problem of pride. The arrogant Pharisees were always looking for a way to receive honor and praise for what they were doing. If they gave things to the poor, they wanted everyone to know about what they had done. The real problem here is not whether we are pleasing God or man, it is about pleasing ourselves. It is this insidious delight with our own importance that Jesus is warning against. It is not for their good that we wish to be seen by men, but ours. Bonhoeffer stated it well, “Our light is to be seen by men, but hidden from ourselves. Men consumed by pride, cannot love and please God.
“For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” (1 John 2:16) Jesus is calling us to not be like the world, but to follow God. He is telling us that we are to please God and not man. To serve God as Jesus is telling us, we must be broken. If we are not broken for God, we will have our rewards here on earth, not in heaven. The only way to receive His grace and favor is to be broken and humble before God.