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The most beautiful things seek no attention

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Today’s bible study is from the Gospel of Matthew 6:1: 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.

This is one of the most confounding verses in the bible and one that is rather difficult to deal with. We are taught not to practice our righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. Aren’t we taught to perform our righteousness each day of our lives in everything we do? Aren’t we taught to follow the way of the Lord in our every encounter and action? Now we are told not to do it in front of others.

Well, it seems to come down to an issue of display. Think of it this way. Imagine that you are wearing your nicest outfit, the one that fits the best and brings out the most positive aspects of your style. Imagine that you are feeling really good about the way you look and want to show it off.

This is the error of our ways. If we simply go about our business, saying nothing about how we look and drawing no attention to ourselves, people may very well admire us and what we are. If, on the other hand, we show off, speak up and draw attention to ourselves, it is vanity and other people will soon become disinterested or even repelled by it.

Most of the most wonderful and beautiful things in life draw no attention to themselves. They simply exist. The pink, white and purple flowers that awaken the trees to spring are simply there. The smile or a baby, the parchment hand of an elderly person, the soft fur of a kitten – they are simply there. They ask no attention and seek no attention. Yet, they are beyond the greatest beauty that poets have been able to describe.

Beauty does not flaunt itself. The greatest beauty we know simply exists as it was created. The same is true for righteousness. If we go around telling of our righteous acts, people will not be impressed. But, if we practice righteousness as a way of life, making it an integral part of who and what we are as children of God, it will just be. Just being will be the greatest beauty that our righteousness can bring to us and to others, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock and The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur.

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