January 1 – Gospel Readthrough – Matthew 6

Read Matthew 6:1-34

Have you ever wondered why people flock to Amish restaurants?  Could it be the REAL mashed potatoes from REAL potatoes and not a box?  Fresh fruit pies from REAL fruit and, of course, REAL sugar that contains REAL calories?  Maybe it is the REAL whipped cream from REAL fresh cream – no cool whip there! 

Nothing beats the real thing in food and in life!

Genuine, real, honest, authentic – all are words we look for but often find missing in people we encounter these days. We seek them in politicians, journalists, doctors, friends, spouses and even used car salesmen, but often we are disappointed and find we are left with only empty promises and artificial relationships. Someone you might have trusted only used you to get what they wanted. Maybe it was to get a bonus, a promotion, a committee assignment, or reward of some kind that they were willing to trade their integrity for. 

When I read this chapter of the book of Matthew, I can almost see a big flashing “Be Real” sign right before my eyes. God wants us to be real with, not only Him, but the people around us.  Why did you help that poor person?  Was it because you really wanted to or was it to be recognized and praised by those around you?  But what good was it after the applause and everyone had gone? You might have even gotten a plague to hang on your wall but, after a while, it just gathers dust.

Jesus tells us that, even though the people around us might praise us, God sees what is really in our hearts.  There is no need to be fake with Him.  He knows you better than even you know yourself.  He sees your tears.  He knows your pain.  Flamboyant prayers that go on and on to impress the people around you are just like wisps in the air to God, while a simple whispered sincere, “Help!” can move mountains!

When I was young, there was a man on TV whose stage name was Captain Penny.  He used to always end his show with this phrase: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool Mom!  She’s pretty nice and she’s pretty smart.  Do what Mom says, and you won’t go far wrong.”  

I like to substitute “God” for “Mom” in that saying!  All God is asking you to do is to be REAL with Him and the people around you.  You aren’t fooling anyone except yourself when you aren’t.

Are you willing to help others when no one else is around and no one knows about it but you?  Do you pray when no one else can hear you?  Be real with God and He will be real with you.  

What are some ways that you can live a more genuine life?

The lyrics to a Sandy Patty song should be our prayer:

The stage is bare, the crowds are gone
Lord, now’s the time I need your song
To give me joy and certainty
When no one else is watching me
I need you more than words can say
Tomorrow’s such a daily day
And I so need to feel you then
Holding my hand, please hold me then
I need You, Lord!

Pat Arnold

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