What kinds of things do people regularly do to increase their own reputation?
Read Matthew 6:1-18.
Break up into three groups. Have one group study "giving", one group study "praying", and one group study "fasting". Each group should answer the following three questions about their topic.
1. What warnings does Jesus give about how NOT to do this?Why do you think Jesus refers to God as "Father" so many times in this chapter? What can we learn about God by thinking of Him as our Father?
2. What instructions does Jesus give about how TO do this?
3. How do you think this activity can help someone grow in their faith?
How might someone's bad experience with their Father impact their perspective of God? What encouragement would you have for this person?
When have you been tempted to do "good things" in order to grow your own reputation? Why do you think Jesus was so concerned about our motives for doing (good) things?
Why do you think Jesus instructed his followers to pray and fast in secret? What is the benefit of doing these things in secret?
What do you think is the reward promised to those who do these things for the right reasons?
Which of these three activities (giving, prayer, fasting) do you want to develop more in your life? What will you do this week to accomplish this?