I’ve always been impressed by the solemn, magnificent simplicity of the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. The carefully choreographed event is a moving tribute to soldiers whose names—and sacrifice—are “known but to God.” Equally moving are the private moments of steady pacing when the crowds are gone: back and forth, hour after hour, day by day, in even the worst weather.
In September 2003, Hurricane Isabel was bearing down on Washington, DC, and the guards were told they could seek shelter during the worst of the storm. Surprising almost no one, the guards refused! They unselfishly stood their post to honor their fallen comrades even in the face of a hurricane.
Underlying Jesus’s teaching in Matthew 6:1–6, I believe, is His desire for us to live with an unrelenting, selfless devotion to Him. The Bible calls us to good deeds and holy living, but these are to be acts of worship and obedience (vv. 4–6), not orchestrated acts for self-glorification (v. 2). The apostle Paul endorses this whole-life faithfulness when he pleads with us to make our bodies “a living sacrifice” (Rom. 12:1).
May our private and public moments speak of our devotion and wholehearted commitment to You, Lord.
Grant me the strength this day, O Lord, to persevere, to return honor to Your name where I am serving. My desire is to give myself in selfless devotion because of Your love for me.
The more we serve Christ, the less we will serve self.
In the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5–7), Jesus issues a warning about showcased religiosity and hypocrisy (6:1–8). After His strong caution against it, He gives us the proper motivation. Our reason to share with open hands, to raise our hands in prayer, and to fold them before an empty plate is both stated and implied. When we do these things, we do them out of love for the Father, the source of all good things, knowing He will bless our efforts. The approval of the Father is better than any praise we may receive from friends and neighbors. It is the reward from Him that we should truly and deeply desire.