Matthew 6

True relationship to God will be manifested by a motive of heart devotion to God back of all charity to men, by absolute sincerity and humility in the prayer life, by laying up heavenly treasures and by absolute confidence in the Heavenly Father to supply all real needs and overcome all troubling circumstances.

1 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.

2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:

4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

5 ¶ And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

7 But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

11 Give us this day our daily bread.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

16 ¶ Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;

18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.

19 ¶ Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.

23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!

24 ¶ No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Matthew 6:1-8 – ​Secret Giving and Secret Praying

   First we have the general proposition that righteousness, that is, one’s religious duties, should not be done for the sake of display; and that principle is then applied to alms, prayer, and fasting—the three departments into which the Jews divided personal religion.
   The words take heed in Matthew 6:1 are very searching! We are all likely to put better goods in the window than we have anywhere on our shelves; and to show fairer samples than we can supply in bulk. The Greek word for hypocrite means stage actor. “We are tempted to assume on Sunday a religious attire which we certainly do not wear in the home or in business.
   In her account of the first Burman convert, Mrs. Judson says: “A few days ago, I was reading with him Matthew 6. He was deeply impressed and solemn. ‘These words,’ said he, ‘take hold of my very heart. They make me tremble. When our people visit the pagodas, they make a great noise with trumpets. But this religion makes the mind fear God.’” —Through the Bible Day by Day

Matthew 6:6 – ​Secret devotions resemble the rivers which run under the earth; they steal from the eyes of the world to seek the eyes of God; and it often happens that those of whom we speak least on earth, are best known in heaven. (Caussin)

Matthew 6:6 – ​The closets of God’s people are where the roots of the church grow. And if the roots be not nourished, there can be no tree with branches and fruit. In many senses the root of the plant is the most important part of it. Men do not see it. It is hidden away down under the ground. Yet in the dark it works away, and in its secret laboratory it prepares the life which goes up into the plant or tree, and manifests itself in trunk and branches, in leaves and fruits. The beautiful leaf-fabrics are woven down in the looms of that dark earth-factory. The colors that tint the flowers are prepared in that lowly workshop. The little blocks that are piled in silence, one by one, as the fabric of the tree goes up, are hewn out in the secret quarries of the roots. He that would bless a tree must first bless its roots. So it is in the spiritual life. It is not the closet which men see. It is not a man’s secret, personal religious life which the world understands and praises. Yet it is in the closet that the roots of his life grow. And if the roots be not nourished, then the tree will soon die. (J.R. Miller)

Matthew 6:9-18 – ​How to Pray and How to Fast

   This might more fitly be termed the “disciples’ prayer.” As we tread its stately aisles, we cannot but think of the myriads who have stood on the same pavement, and have found, in every age, that these seven brief petitions express sufficiently their deepest and holiest longings. Old men and little children, the servant and his master, east and west, stand together in this noble temple not made with hands.
   Prayer should be direct, simple and earnest. It must be reverent, hallowing the Name; and unselfish, employing, weus, and our,—not “I,” “me,” “mine.” It must breathe the filial spirit which cries, “Abba, Father.” It must be conceived in love and breathe forgiveness and trust for the supply of all the hunger of our nature. When God forgives, He forth-gives; that is, He casts out of His hand and mind and memory every trace of our sin. We may claim that God should repair as well as forgive; but we must be willing to deal with all others as God has dealt with us. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Matthew 6:9 – ​There is one thing more pitiable, almost worse than even cold, black, miserable atheism. To kneel down and say, “Our Father,” and then to get up and live an orphaned life. To stand and say, “I believe in God the Father Almighty,” and then to go fretting and fearing, saying with a thousand tongues, “I believe in the love of God! – but it is only in heaven. I believe in the power of God! – but it stoppeth short at the stars. I believe in the providence of God! – but it is limited to the saints in Scripture. I believe that ‘the Lord reigneth’ – only with reference to some far-off time with which we have nothing to do.” That is more insulting to our heavenly Father, more harmful to the world, more cheating to ourselves, than to have no God at all. (Mark Guy Pearse)

Matthew 6:10 – ​There is a cathedral in Europe with an organ at each end. Organ answers organ, and the music waves backward and forward with indescribable effect. The time will come when heaven and earth will be but different parts of one great accord. It will be joy here and joy there! Jesus here and Jesus there! Trumpet to trumpet! Organ to organ! Hallelujah to hallelujah. (Talmage)

Matthew 6:18—Thy Father which is in secret,… which seeth in secret.

​   How fondly Jesus repeats these words (Matthew 6:4, 6, 18). Though compelled to live so much in the public gaze of men, his heart was always sighing for the secret place of fellowship with his Father, who waited for Him there.
   Of course, the main object of those paragraphs was to withdraw his disciples from the excessive outwardness of the age in which He spoke, and which necessarily detracted from the singleness, directness, and simplicity of the religious life. It is impossible to perform our religious duties before men, without insensibly considering what impression we are producing, and how far their estimation of us is being enhanced. And in so far as we seek these things, the stream is contaminated with mud and silt, and becomes turbid. We have just as much religious life as we show to God in secret—just that, no less, no more. Whatever is not wrought between thee and God, with no record but his eye, is chaff which the wind driveth away.
   Here is a test for our alms, our prayers, and our fasting from sin and self-indulgence. If we do any of these to maintain or increase the consideration that men have of us, they count for nothing in the eve of God. But whatever is done for Him alone will secure his inevitable notice and reward. Dwell on that very definite assurance: “Shall reward thee.” There is no doubt about it. For every petition breathed into his ear; for every sigh and tear; for every abstinence from sin and self there will be a certain recompense, after the Divine measure. Such seeds shall have a prolific harvest. Seek then the secret place, where prying eyes cannot follow, and curious ears cannot overhear. —Our Daily Homily

Matthew 6:19-26 – ​What to Seek and Whom to Serve

   What is in our inner life which answers to the eye of the body? Some have said that it is the intellect; others the heart. But it is truer to say that it is the inner purpose and intention of the soul.
   When our physical eye is in an unhealthy condition, the image is doubled and blurred. To use a common expression, it has a squint, such as affected the noble face of Edward Irving, the noted English clergyman. We are told that as a babe he was laid in a wooden cradle, in the side of which was a small hole through which he watched what was going on. This distorted his vision through life. So we may look two ways at once.
   The endeavor to serve God and mammon, to stand well with both worlds, to lay up treasures on earth and at the same time be rich toward God, is a spiritual squint. John Bunyan tells of Mr. Facing-Both-Ways, who kept one eye on heaven and the other on earth; who sincerely professed one thing and sincerely did another. He tried to cheat God and Devil, but in the end cheated only himself and his neighbors. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Matthew 6:21 – ​A friend of mine who had been in Eastern lands told me he saw a shepherd who wanted his flock to cross a river. He went into the water himself and called them; but no, they would not follow him into the water. What did he do? Why, he girded up his loins, and lifted a little lamb under each arm and plunged right into the stream, and crossed it without even looking back. When he lifted the lambs the old sheep looked up into his face and began to bleat for them; but when he plunged into the water the dams plunged after him, and then the whole flock followed. When they got to the other side he put down the lambs, and they were quickly joined by their mothers, and there was a happy meeting. Our great Divine Shepherd does this. Your child which He has  taken from the earth is but removed to the green pastures of Canaan, and the Shepherd means to draw your hearts after it, to teach you to “set your affection on things above” (Colossians 3:2). (Moody)

​Matthew 6:24 – When you see a dog following two men, you know not to which of them he belongs while they walk together; but let them come to a parting road, and one go one way, and the other another way, then you will know which is the dog’s master. So at times will you and the world go hand in hand. While a man may have the world, and a religious profession too, we cannot tell which is the man’s master, God or the world: but stay till the man comes to a parting road; God calls him this way, and the world calls him that way. Well, if God be his master, he follows religion, and lets the world go; but if the world be his master, then he follows the world and the lusts thereof, and lets God, and conscience, and religion go. (R. Erskine)

Matthew 6:27-34 – ​The Cure for Anxious Care

   The Lord’s tone is gentle and tender when He turns to address the poor. He says three times over, “Take no thought.” He never forgot that He sprang, according to His human nature, from the ranks of poverty. His references to patching garments, using old bottle-skins, the price of sparrows, and the scanty pittance of a laborer’s hire, indicate that He was habituated to the shifts of the poor.
   There is all the difference between foresight and foreboding. It is the latter that Jesus chides. The farmer must sow in the autumn that he may reap in the summer, but there is no need for him to lie sleepless through the nights of winter, worrying about the yet distant harvest. Do not be anxious about the supply of your needs, whether of body, mind, or heart. God knows what you need. If He has given life, will He not maintain it? Does He not care for the birds and flowers? Did He not give His Son, and will He withhold any good? Trust Him and be at peace. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Matthew 6:33 – When some peculiar pressure is upon you, be like Queen Esther, whose first request was the king’s company. In each trial “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness”, and all other things shall be added: your seeking first the removal of the trial shows that you need the continuance of it. (Moody)

​Matthew 6:34 – Sometimes I compare the troubles we have to undergo in the course of a year to a great bundle of faggots, far too large for us to lift. But God does not require us to carry the whole at once: He mercifully unties the bundle, and gives us, first one stick, which we are to carry today; and then another, which we are to carry tomorrow; and so on. This we might easily manage if we would only take the burden appointed for each day; but we choose to increase our trouble by carrying yesterday’s stick over again today, and adding tomorrow’s burden to our load before we are required to bear it. (John Newton)

Matthew 6:34 – ​You remember how Leonidas, the Spartan, kept back the Persian hosts. He stood in the narrow pass of Thermopylae, and as the foe came up, one by one, each man was able to push back his enemy, and they might have kept Greece thus for many a day. But suppose Leonidas and his handful of men had gone out into the wide open plain, and attacked the Persians – why, they must have died at once, though they should have fought like lions. Christian, stand you in the narrow pass of today, and as your troubles come, one by one, by faith you shall find out that your strength is sufficient for you; but if you go out into the vast plain of time, and think to meet all the troubles that shall ever come at once, it must be too much for you. Will you please not to borrow misery, for you will have enough of your own. (Spurgeon)