Matthew 6:1-4 "Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 "Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in
secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."
Beware means we are to be on our guard against something. We are to be on our guard against practicing our righteousness before people to be seen by them. "To be seen by them" means "to be seen by them for the purpose of gaining their praise" when coupled with what the hypocrites do as described in verse 2."To be seen by them" means "to be seen by them and gain a reward" when coupled with verse 4.
When we do our righteousness, we are doing what the Lord Jesus has taught and commanded us. We are to live out Jesus' teaching in order to please God and gain His praise and reward. This is very important for us because then we are depending on God alone for our needs and not entrusting our well being into the hands of people. People will fail us. Jesus will never fail us. Trusting in God alone gives us stability in life even in the midst of the severest trials.
When we do our righteousness to be seen by God and not man, then we give the Lord the credit and people trust in the Lord and not in us. When the Lord gets credit for the righteousness we do as when helping a person financially, the person is led to trust in the Lord who will never fail him/her and give praise and glory to the Lord. By giving credit to the Lord for our acts of righteousness we build stability into the lives of those we help (by example or deed) by helping them trust in the Lord alone.
What is your motivation for doing your acts of righteousness, for living out God's will? Do you do them to please people and gain their praise or their reward? Do you do them to gain God's praise and reward? Jesus has taught us in Matthew 6:1-4 to do all things to gain God's praise and reward. By following Jesus' teaching we build stability into our lives and the lives of those around us by promoting trust in the Lord alone.