The Sermon on the Mount – Charity, Prayer and Fasting
What did Jesus have to say about giving, praying and going without?
Have you ever raised money for charity? Maybe you have done a sponsored walk, worn a red nose or had your hair shaved off.
Many people like to support charities. They make a big difference raising money for lots of worthy causes. In the past many people were dependant on the charitable giving of others to help them through difficult circumstances, especially when charitable giving was the only system of welfare that there was. Jesus advises people that when they give they should do so in secret and not make a big show of giving. The idea is that giving should come from a willing heart and not to make a show of how generous a person is able to be.
Jesus warned about being a hypocrite -that is pretending to be something that one is not. It is sincerity that matters not the action in itself. This applies to giving but also extends to prayer and fasting. Jesus criticises those who make a show of piety by bragging about how much they give away, saying long prayers on the street corner so everyone can hear or looking miserable and putting ashes on their heads when they choose to fast. Jesus is saying that if people do theses things to show off or in order to get a spiritual reward then they will receive no reward because their motives are wrong.
Jesus teaches that prayer should be short and to the point and not said like a form of magic, using a great number of words thinking that one is more likely to be heard that way. Jesus demonstrates how prayer should be approached by teaching the Lord’s Prayer. Find out more about the Lord’s Prayer here.Bookmark