Never wanting to leave a story unfinished, I’ve decided to continue with the “Sermon on the Mount”. I really want to get this out there because these are the fundamental teachings of Christianity, and most Christians don’t understand or even know them.
In the sixth chapter of Matthew, Jesus continues the lesson. He says “Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven“. Do you hear that televangelists? Prayer is between the individual and God, it isn’t a performance piece.
He continues to reinforce the lesson, saying that attracting the attention of men will not attract the attention of God. The seventh verse, “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking“, says you should be mindful of your words, reciting words is not a prayer. It is simply chanting.
This is where people become confused. Verses nine through fifteen are commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Prayer”, or by those used to reciting words without meaning, the first two words of the prayer, “Our Father”. The important part is the first verse, “9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name“. After this manner. He does not say “Use these words”, he has just said “Use not vain repetitions”. Understanding means understanding every word, not just “getting the gist of it”.
Then again in verses sixteen through eighteen he reinforces the lesson of not making your prayers for public recognition. It would occur to me that this must be a very important lesson, for him to repeat it three times in succession. He gives an analogy in verses nineteen through twenty one, “19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” You can see this as still pounding in the lesson. Most likely because he was attempting to reach people who had practiced the opposite all of their lives.
Now he builds into the next lesson. “22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” To bring this into my own “language”, I would reference “Rockman” from “The Point”. You see what you want to see. If you see darkness in people, that is all you will see, and if the darkness is inside you, everything will be dark.
And then, the focal point of this section. “24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Do not misunderstand. This has been the theme from the start of the chapter. He says you cannot serve both. You have to make one or the other your priority. In doing so, the following verses come naturally.
If you have decided to serve God, your life on Earth is secondary. God knows what you need and will provide it. Verses twenty five through thirty three explain the difference between what you need and what you may want. Finishing with “34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Do not worry about tomorrow, there is enough to deal with today.
You may not be here tomorrow anyway.