The First 15

Monday November 1, 2021

by Sharon Reid

Today is Monday, November 1, and this week we are exploring Jesus’s teaching on the spiritual practice of generosity and how it transforms our thinking.

Opening Prayer

As I enter into prayer, I pause to be still. I breathe slowly and recenter my scattered thoughts upon the presence of God.

Pause and Pray

Holy Spirit, come guide me to rest in these moments of stillness with you. Amen.

Scripture Reading

I choose to give God thanks, joining with the ancient praise of all God’s people in the words of Psalm 106.

Praise the Lord.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Who can proclaim the mighty acts of the Lord
or fully declare his praise? – Psalm 106:1-2 NIV

Pause and Pray

Throughout this week we will be reading passages from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, found in the Gospel of Matthew. Here, Jesus provides teaching on what he expects of his disciples, often focusing on the very fertile ground of our inner thoughts and where they lead us.

As I read his words, I imagine myself being close enough to easily hear Jesus speak as we sit with the crowd on the slope of a mountainside. Jesus says,

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:1-4 NIV

Reflection

I hear Jesus speaking to me about my actions and how they are driven by the way I think about myself and others. Jesus seems to know that I am often concerned about what others think about me and that I often put on a performance to look good for others. He points out that when I act generously to impress others “It might be good theater, but the God who made me won’t be applauding” (v. 4 MSG).

Ask: What else do I hear Jesus emphasize in this teaching?

Pause and Pray

Lord, help me examine my attitudes and thoughts as I slowly read Jesus’s words once again.

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Matthew 6:1-4 NIV

Ask: What image, word or phrase stood out to me this time as I listened to Jesus?

Pause and Pray

Lord, help me look inward and notice what or who is motivating me in acts of generosity. If I am acting generously to impress others, please help me see it. I invite you to transform my thought life to reflect the thoughts of Christ. May my thoughts, words and deeds be driven by my desire to please you. Amen.

How precious to me are your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! – Psalm 139:17 NIV

Closing Prayer

Father, prepare me to live this day being faithful to you in every way. Jesus, help me serve others with your compassion and grace. Spirit, transform my inner thoughts and motivations so that all I do, I do to please you. Amen.

The First 15

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