Gleanings – Just Do It!

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

“When you give all alms, . .”

When you give alms. When you pray. When you fast. When, when, when! When, not if. Jesus assumes these acts of piety will be a part of our lives. Giving, praying and fasting are ordinary to people of faith. Each of us is meant to engage in them but in ways unknown to others. “Practicing your piety before men” might draw attention if not accolades from others and puff us up with pride. And if these acts are done “to be seen by them” they are done for all the wrongs reasons.

In spite of the admonition we tend organize these acts and promote publicly them with great zeal. We have a national day of prayer. We have national days of fasting. Hmm. I cannot recall a national day of giving alms. We will tackle that another day. So we nationalize acts of piety because surely praying and fasting collectively and publicly is better than us doing it individually and privately! Right?

Now before you fire off a response, hear what I am saying. I am not opposed to these organized acts of piety. But I wonder if they are not observed by many in lieu of what should be ordinary to a follower of Jesus. It should not be necessary to ramp up prayer or fasting among believers. Should we not be praying daily? Perhaps twice a day? Without ceasing according to Paul!

In some ways we in the church mimic the culture of dependency that surrounds us. The nation or church tells us when to pray and what our prayers should address when the mature ought to be doing things for himself. I am always harping on individualism but it seems to me Jesus is promoting it here as it relates to piety. Each of us has the responsibility to engage. No one else can do it for us.


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