Looking Or Looked At?

“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” (Matthew 6:1).

The “hypocrites” of Matthew 6, although they had set themselves up as the religious leaders of the Jews, were motivated solely by a desire to appear religious before others. Jesus repeatedly condemned them in passages such as “all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries . . . and love the uppermost rooms at feasts . . . and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi” (Matthew 23:5–7). “They love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men” (Matthew 6:5). John the Baptist called the Pharisees and the Sadducees a “generation of vipers” (Matthew 3:7) and Jesus said they appeared “beautiful outward,” but were “within full of dead men’s bones” (Matthew 23:27). In their prideful concern to appear righteous, they neglected to look to the Righteous One in their midst whom the God they claimed to represent had provided that they “might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (II Corinthians 5:21).

It is far more necessary to look “unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2) than to worry about being looked at by others. This is not to say we do not care about others. The Christian’s outward, selfless look at the needs of others includes the “look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest. And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal” (John 4:35,36).

The scribes and Pharisees had their reward, for they were seen of men, but the reward of the laborer in the soul harvest awaits him in eternity, when the One he has looked to says, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). CJH

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