Justin, you got me thinking.
Jesus speaks about doing what is right and godly. He has (at least) three good aims for the doer of righteousness. They’re all true!
To be seen by people
Matthew 5:16 esv
… let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Not to be seen by people, but by God our father
Matthew 6:1, 4 esv
Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
… And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
To act naturally and without plan, let alone an aim to be seen
Matthew 25:37 esv
Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?’
- It’s worth aiming for people to see righteousness.
Because it will glorify God that his people do well.
- It’s important that we aim to please God, not people.
Because it’s easy, superficial and hypocritical to impress others. Only God’s ‘well done’ is worth hearing.
- We shouldn’t have any aims at all.
Because righteousness is not a show.
Here’s a letter to the editor – slightly abridged – from our local rag, The Border Mail.
I RECALL being at a council-run 2030 forum last year where a woman raised the very matter of lack of support facilities in Albury for the disadvantaged.
It is important to note the following:
“The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German pastor and Nazi opponent who died in a concentration camp.
“Any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members — the last, the least, the littlest.” — Cardinal Roger Mahony, in a 1998 letter Creating a Culture of Life.
Councillor Pastor Robert Angus should be able to enlighten himself and his fellow councillors (but for three) on Matthew 25:41-46 (The Final Judgement): “Then he will say to those on his left … for I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat; I was thirsty …”
— GRAEME RICHARDSON,
Intriguing that Matthew 25 get quoted with specific references and all! Not so surprising that it’s turned into morality and getting into God’s kingdom by good works. This is a classic misinterpretation that conveniently sidelines Jesus – not to mention ignoring his saving death that, in Matthew 25, is no more than a few days away.
Why not read the whole chapter for yourself. Ask yourself to whom Jesus refers when he says ‘the least of my brothers’ (you might need to rest of Matthew’s gospel).