6:1 “Be careful [caution to not do the right thing in the wrong way and for the wrong purpose] not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ [righteous deeds] before men [to impress others], to [for the purpose of] be seen by them [and receive their praise]. If you do, you will have no [Gr. ouk is a strong negative] reward from your Father in heaven.
6:2 “So when you give [charitable deeds as well as gifts] to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets [some see this as metaphorical statement, “Don’t blow your own horn!”], as the hypocrites [Gr. hupokrites literally means a play actor or pretender] do in the synagogues and on the streets, to [for the purpose of] be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full [Gr. apecho means paid in full].
6:3 But when you give to the needy, [Jesus used hyperbole to emphasize His point…] do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
6:4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
6:5 “And when you pray [Jews had three appointed prayer times: 9 AM, Noon, 3 PM], do not [translates the strong negative ouk] be like the hypocrites, for they love [Gr. phileo] to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to [for the purpose of] be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full [Gr. apecho means paid in full].
6:6 But when you pray, go into your room [away from distractions; place where you do not have to be concerned with the correctness of your words], close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
6:7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling [empty repetitions; cf. Acts 19:34] like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words [repeating or muttering the same words over and over again].
6:8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
6:9 “This, then, is how you should pray: [1: pray for God’s glory] “‘Our Father [assumes a personal relationship (only possible through faith in Christ); denotes authority and intimacy; God is not an impersonal deity] in heaven [literally the one in the heavens; cf. Isa. 6:1], hallowed [declare, acknowledge, treat as holy; to set apart; to hold in reverence] be your name [represented the person and his character; exalt God in prayer],
6:10 your kingdom [the reign and rule of God in the hearts of people] come [attitude is that of submission to the reign of God], your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Note: H.H. Hobbs points out that God’s kingdom may be thought of in several ways:
• God’s kingdom is God’s reign over the entire universe.
• God’s kingdom is the reign of God in people’s hearts (cf. Lk. 17:21).
• God’s kingdom is the reign of Christ now in His mediatorial kingdom (cf. 1 Cor. 15:25).
• God’s kingdom is the reign of God over His eternal kingdom (cf. 1 Cor. 15:28).
The Herschel Hobbs Commentary, Jan. – Mar. 1996 Life & Work Lessons
Note: “To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge. To do the will of God is the greatest achievement. The will of God is not always easy, but it is always right.” (Dr. George W. Truett as quoted by Hobbs)
6:11 [2: pray for our good] [prayer for physical provisions] Give [attitude of dependence on God to give what is needed; keep on giving; a request for ongoing provision] us today our daily [for the coming day; cf. Ex. 16:18-19 re: manna] bread [basic human needs].
6:12 [prayer for spiritual provisions] Forgive [to dismiss, release, send away] us our debts [refers to sins rather than financial obligations], as we also [we must treat others as we are treated by God; forgiveness is a two-way street (cf. Mk. 11:25)] have forgiven our debtors.
6:13 And lead us not [keep us from yielding to; do not allow us to be led into; expresses a desire to avoid sin; acknowledgment of our weakness and vulnerability] into temptation [cf. Jas. 1:13], but deliver us from the evil one [Satan].’
6:14 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your [indicates that Jesus was talking to believers] heavenly Father will also forgive you.
6:15 But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
6:16 “When you fast [mandatory fast on Day of Atonement (Lev. 23:32); Pharisees fasted twice a week (Lk. 18:12); personal fast], do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.
6:17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face [normal acts of daily hygiene],
6:18 so [purpose of instructions in previous verse: to not draw attention to oneself] that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
6:19 “Do not [do not get in the habit of] store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth [a threat to clothing, rugs, tapestries] and rust [something which ate away (could refer to mice which ate and destroyed grain, etc.)] destroy, and where [indicates treasures kept in the home] thieves break in and steal.
6:20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in [means dig through (homes in Jesus’ day made of clay making it easy for thieves to gain entry by digging through)] and steal.
6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
6:22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good [“single” (KJV); “without folds” like a piece of unfolded cloth (Robertson); having a single focus], your whole body will be full of light.
6:23 But if your eyes are bad [or sick; one who is blind to God and His will], your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!
6:24 “No one can serve [Gr. douleuein means to serve as a slave (Gr. doulos)] two masters [Gr. kurios]. Either he [a slave in the ancient world belonged to his owner absolutely and had no personal rights] will hate the one and love the other [attitude toward one master determined attitude toward the other], or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money [mammon: Aramaic, Syriac, and Punic word for the money-god or the devil (Robertson); denotes material possessions; refers to that which a person trusted].
6:25 “Therefore [links what follows with previous verses] I tell you, do not [an imperative or command] worry [to be anxious or to fret] about your life [the physical necessities of life…], what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes [trust God with the details of your life]?
6:26 Look [observe for the purpose of learning] at the birds [they are dependent on God’s daily provision; birds are not idle, but neither are they anxious] of the air; they do not [illustration of normal activities in an agricultural society…] sow or reap or store away in barns [this is not an excuse for laziness (cf. 2 Thess. 3:10)], and yet your heavenly Father [Jesus identified God as the sole basis of provision] feeds them [this is not teaching that every hungry person in the world will be fed]. Are you not much more valuable than they?
6:27 Who of you by worrying can add [prolong or lengthen] a single hour to his life?
Note: What do you worry about most? How can worrying affect your health, thoughts, emotions, relationships with others and your relationship with God?
Reflect: If Jesus spoke directly to you, what would He tell you not to worry about?
6:28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor [refers to hard work that leads to fatigue] or spin.
6:29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon [Israel’s richest king] in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
6:30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire [fuel for clay ovens], will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith [anxiety is one of the results of unbelief; faith is the antidote to worry]?
Note: What actions in your life reveal “little faith” in the Lord?
6:31 So [because God provides] do not worry [worry shows a lack of faith in God], saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’
6:32 For the pagans [unbelievers; those who have no sense of God’s care for them; worry puts believers on the same level with unbelievers] run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
6:33 But seek [continuous action] first [priority] his kingdom [submit to God’s sovereignty; work to advance His kingdom] and his righteousness [live according to God’s will], and [when your priorities are right] all these things [needs; the things that people worry about] will be given to you as well.
Note: What do you seek first? What competes for first place in your list of priorities? How can misplaced priorities produce worry?
6:34 Therefore [because of God’s ability and faithfulness to provide for your needs] do not worry about tomorrow [do not invest energy worrying about what may not happen], for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble [any kind of material evil or calamity; indication that believers are not exempt from trouble or problems] of its own [a reminder to live one day at a time].
Note: How does worrying about tomorrow add to today’s burdens? Can worry change the outcome of what may happen tomorrow? What is the difference between planning for tomorrow and worrying about tomorrow? How can planning help alleviate worry?
Read: For more on anxiety and faith, read the following verses:
• Psalm 56:3
• Isaiah 41:10
• Philippians 4:6
• 1 Peter 5:7