Beyond the Manger: December 10, 2015

Categories: Beyond the Manger,Featured

Matthew 6: 1-4 (NRSV)

6 “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.2 “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6: 1-4 (The Voice)

Jesus: But when you do these righteous acts, do not do them in front of spectators. Don’t do them where you can be seen, let alone lauded, by others. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 When you give to the poor, do not boast about it, announcing your donations with blaring trumpets as the play actors do. Do not brazenly give your charity in the synagogues and on the streets; indeed, do not give at all if you are giving because you want to be praised by your neighbors. Those people who give in order to reap praise have already received their reward. 3-4 When you give to the needy, do it in secret—even your left hand should not know what your right hand is doing. Then your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.

ADVENT STUDY GATHERING #2: Interactive and Relationally Reflective Love

Note: Take time to join us today as we take a look at another key Beyond the Manger teaching of Jesus.  Today at 1:00 and again at 6:00 we will gather to look at the reflective love that Jesus prays for our lives.  The key teaching for today, Love one another!

Devotional Content

Are you done with your Christmas shopping?  Depending on how you count…it looks to me like you have about 14 days before you are really faced with that last minute chaotic run to the mall.  Do you remember last year when you promised yourself that it would never happen again?  Maybe today’s Scripture can help us get a handle on the situation.

The teaching is clear!  Giving gifts is not a spectator sport.  It is not about boasting or shining the spotlight on our generosity.  In fact, gift giving is all about the opposite mindset.  According to the key teachings of Jesus, giving gifts is always done best in secret.

In our family, we always draw names at Thanksgiving so we can secretly focus on blessing one member of the clan.  Ultimately the secret comes out so our family gift giving strategy really does not meet the standard that Jesus sets in this passage.  Once again, Jesus shifts the experience, turns the tables, and sets a new-normal for our acts of generosity.

Someone once said that we should “Give without remembering and receive without forgetting.”  Jesus says, God will bless those who gie in secret.  The secret just removes the interior and natural motivations that arise from our natural human desire to be noticed and appreciated.

Why wait for Christmas? Intentionally be a blessing to someone today!

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