Sun 14 Feb
Valentine's Day is usually celebrated by giving a card or flowers or a gift so that the one you are giving to will know you like them, even love them. You seek to get their attention and their heart. When Jesus looks at the religious practice of giving, he turns Valentine type thinking on its head. When you give, don't give so that you'll be noticed. "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by men. I tell you the truth they have received their reward in full." When Jesus teaches on the three religious practices - giving, praying and fasting - mentioned in this part of the Sermon on the Mount, He gives much the same instruction. When you give, pray or fast, don't do it to be noticed by people. What is my motivation in doing this? Why am I giving? Do I give in order to be noticed by people? Do I give to look important in the eyes of others? Do I give so as appear super spiritual? Do I give to show how much God has blessed me? Jesus' followers were not immune from the type of thinking of the day that if you had plenty, then you must be spiritual and God is blessing you. Do we have similar thoughts on occasion? When a widow wen to put money in the offering, Jesus noticed His followers were looking at the large amounts being put in by wealthier people. Jesus pulled them up and told them that the widow had put in far more for she had put in all she had and was now totally reliant on God to meet her needs. What about us? When we give to Lord's work, is it out of a sense that this is what I can spare? Or this is all I have Lord, I'm now reliant on You?