Don’t do things just to get people to think you are good
1Jesus kept on teaching the people. He said, “If you only do good things so that people will see you and think you are good, God will not do good to you. Instead, you have to do good things and keep them secret. Then your father in heaven will do good things for you.#Matthew 23:5
2You know, there are some people that want everyone to think they are good, even though they are not good. So whenever they give something to help a poor person, they do it in front of the meeting house or on a busy street, so that people will see it and say that they are good. But listen, that is all those people will get. God will not give them anything good for doing that. Don’t be like them. 3Whenever you give something to help somebody, don’t tell anyone else about it, not even your best friend. 4Keep it a secret. You know, God, your father, always sees what you do in secret, and he will be properly good to you for doing that.”
Pray the right way
5Jesus said, “Don’t pray like those people that want everyone to think they are good, even though they are not good. They like to stand up and pray in the meeting houses and on the busy street corners, so that lots of people can see them praying. They want to hear people say, ‘That’s a good person.’ But listen, that is all those people will get. God will not give them anything good for doing that.”#Luke 18:10-14
6And Jesus said, “I’ll tell you the right way to pray. Go away from other people to a place where you can be alone, like go into a little room in your house and close the door. There you can pray to God, your father. He is in that secret place. And he sees what you do. He will listen to you, and he will be properly good to you for respecting him.
7And when you pray, don’t keep on talking on and on, with lots of words that don’t mean anything. People that don’t know God, they do that. They think that if they talk a lot, God will hear them. But they are wrong. 8Don’t be like them. God, your father, knows what you need already, even before you ask him.
9So pray like this,
‘God, our father, you live in heaven.
We want everyone to respect you.
10We want you to be everyone’s boss.
We want everyone in the world to do what you want,
just like everyone in heaven does what you want.
11Please give us the food that we need each day.
12Please don’t punish us for the bad things that we did,
just like we don’t do payback to the people that did bad things to us.
13Don’t let anything push us to do bad things.
And keep us safe from the devil, the boss over the bad spirits.’ ”
14Then Jesus said, “If you don’t do payback to other people for the bad things they do to you, God, your father in heaven, will not do payback to you for the bad things you do. 15But if you do payback to other people, your father will do payback to you. He will punish you for the bad things you do.”#Mark 11:25-26
Don’t stop eating just to get people to think you are good
16Jesus kept on teaching the people. Some of those people used to stop eating for a while, so they can think about God and respect him. Jesus said, “Whenever you stop eating for a while, make sure you look the same as you always look. You know, there are some people that want everyone to think they are good, even though they are not good. Whenever they stop eating food to respect God, they want everyone to know what they are doing, so they let their faces get dirty, and they try to look sad. They want people to say, ‘That’s a good person.’ But listen, that is all those people will get. God will not give them anything good for doing that. Don’t be like them. 17When you stop eating for God, just be normal and look the same as you always look. Wash your face and comb your hair. 18Then nobody will know that you have stopped eating. But God your father knows. Nobody can see him, but he sees everything you do. He will see what you do in a secret way, and he will be properly good to you for it.”
Keep your good things in heaven
19-20Jesus said, “If you have a lot of money and other good things here in this world, don’t try to keep them all for yourself. No. But give them away to people that need them. When you do that, it’s like you give them to God, and he will keep them for you in heaven. You see, here in this world you might lose them. There are things here that might eat them, like grubs or white ants. Or your good things might go rusty. Or somebody might steal them. But nothing will eat them in heaven, and they will not go rusty in heaven, and nobody there will steal them.#James 5:2-3 21You see, you will always think about the place where you keep your money and your good things. If they are here in this world, you will only live for the things of this world. But if you give them to God in heaven, then you will live for God.”
God can shine his light for you
22Then Jesus told them this picture story. He said, “Your eyes are like lights for your body. They show you where to go. If you always want to look at good things, then you will think about good things, and you will live God’s way. It will be like God is shining his light for you, to help you live his way. 23But if you always want to look at bad things, then you will think about bad things, and you will be spiritually blind, and you will not live God’s way. It will be like you are living in the dark. And if you are spiritually blind, with no light from God, it will be really bad for you.”
You can’t work for both God and money
24And Jesus told them another picture story. He said, “You can’t work for 2 bosses at the same time. If you try to do that, then you will only like one boss, and you will always work properly for him. But you will not like the other boss, and you will never work properly for him. You see, you can’t have God as your boss, and money as your boss, both at the same time.”
Trust God, and don’t worry about the things you need
25Jesus said, “So I’m telling you, even though you need some things to stay alive, don’t worry about them. Don’t worry about what you will eat or drink. Don’t worry about the clothes you will wear. Your life is more important than food, and your body is more important than clothes. 26Think about the birds. They don’t put seeds into the ground to grow a garden, to get their food from it. And they don’t build sheds to keep their food in. But God, your father, gives them food anyway. And you are much more special to God than birds, so you can trust him to give you the food you need.
27And don’t worry about how long you will live, or when you will die. No matter how much you worry about it, you will not live any longer, not even one day longer.
28-29And don’t worry about your clothes. Listen. You know the story about Solomon. He was a very rich man, and he lived a long time ago. He wore very pretty clothes. Well, think about the wild flowers in the bush. They don’t work hard to get clothes for themselves. But those wild flowers are more pretty than Solomon’s clothes.#1 Kings 10:4-7; 2 Chronicles 9:3-6 30You see, we might think the grass and the wild flowers are rubbish, and anybody might burn them up at any time. But God makes them very pretty anyway. So God will give you the clothes you need. You have to trust God properly, and he will take care of you.
31So don’t keep on asking yourself, ‘Where will I get my food? And where will I get my drink? And where will I get clothes to wear?’ 32Listen, God is your father in heaven, and he knows that you need these things. People that don’t know God are always worrying about those things, but you shouldn’t worry about them. 33Think, instead, about the things that are good for God’s family, and try to do the good things that God wants you to do. Then God will give you all those other things that you need. 34So don’t worry about how to get what you will need tomorrow. Each day has enough problems of its own. When tomorrow comes, then you can think about those things.”