New Testament Talks

So far we’re 2/3rds through Matthew and will be just about finishing it up at day’s end. (Mud is blazing through and already to Mark!) It’s terribly hard and I’m worried about keeping pace because there’s so much here to gobble up. Rae and I are trying to stick to the schedule but we don’t want to miss out if we really get stuck digging into a certain passage. Exactly what I was praying and hoping for is happening, I’m seeing things here in God’s word that are amazing and meaningful. The translation we’re using, The Voice is really helping. It’s kind of a ‘beginner’s Bible’ but we’re getting a ton out of it and it’s a super easy read.

It’s Matthew 6 that really hung me up. It starts off in verse 1:

1 Part of imitating the perfection of God is acting charitably and generously, doing good deeds, working for justice, and praying. 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.

From there it goes on to discuss your behavior in giving to the needy, in praying, and in fasting and each time it warns against doing it in such a way that draws attention to your generosity or to your prayer or to quite frankly your physical weariness while fasting. It ends each section with a “then Your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.” It’s really kicking me in the pants because we’re in such alert mode to doing the good works of Christ! I mean we facebook it, we tweet it, we print it on our signs, we make T-shirts, we make videos, we make picture albums, we get in the newspaper, we get on TV commercials, we do podcasts, we create websites, we display our righteousness all over the place! MULTIPLE times all over the place!

Please Conner, we’re doing that to bring awareness so that many more will add to the cause and we can accomplish a greater good!

Yeah and how does that not sound like “do not boast about it, announcing your donations” or “do not be as hypocrites who love to pray loudly..on street corners” or to do so in order that “no one who looks at you will know of your discipline.” Wowzers…could it be that we’ve learned to lean so much on the support of one another that we actually lean less on the miracles of God? Are we replacing faith in God with Christian community? Have I only gotten 10 chapters into Matthew and need to keep reading?

Keep reading Conner! It’s all about the heart. It goes back to the “why” we’re doing it.

Agreed! So let’s take Matthew’s words with dire care: 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. (ESV)

It’s crazy stuff and I sound blasphemous even in my own head but it’s gotten me a little wound up. And please, I say “we” so that I don’t berate myself so much looking at “me” all the time.


3 Responses to “New Testament Talks”

  1. September 4, 2009 at 6:11 am

    Keep the notes coming! Great stuff Conner (and Rae)!!

  2. September 11, 2009 at 8:19 am

    How’s the reading going?

    After my blazing start I took a few days off to finish another book, read another, and watch a couple movies. Just noticed today that I should be starting John. I’m right on schedule!! 🙂

  3. September 11, 2009 at 9:01 am

    Brother the reading is going incredible however we’re on a different pace than you 🙂 We’re getting into Mark. There’s so much to take in!

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