Matthew 6

Jesus teaches people how to help poor people

1 Jesus then said to them, ‘You should do good things to help people. But be careful! Do not do this so that other people see you. If you want other people to praise you, your Father in heaven will not praise you.

2 When you give something to a poor person, do not tell anyone about it. The hypocrites do this in their meeting places. They also do it in the busy streets of the town. They do this so that other people will praise them. I tell you this. They have already received their gift. God will not give them anything more.

6:2Hypocrites want people to think that they are good. But they are not really good people.

3 So when you give something to a poor person, keep it a secret from other people. Do not tell anyone. Your left hand will not even know what your right hand does! 4 Nobody else will know about the good thing that you have done. But God sees the things that you do secretly. In return, he will give you good things.’

Jesus teaches people how to pray

5 ‘Also, you must not pray in the way that the hypocrites pray. They like to stand and pray in their meeting places. They like to do it on the corners of the busy streets. Then many people will see them and they will praise them. I tell you this. They have already received their gift from people. God will not give them anything more.

6:5The corners of the streets were places where Jews met to pray. They also prayed in the special buildings. In those places there were a lot of people who could see them when they were praying.

6 But this is how you should pray. Go to a place in your house where you can be alone. You can shut the door and you can pray to God your Father. He is in that secret place. He sees what you do there. He will give you good things in return. 7 When you pray, do not say the same words many times. People who do not believe in God do that. They use many words that mean nothing. They think that when they pray like that, their gods will hear them. 8 Do not pray like they do. God your Father already knows what you need. He knows this even before you ask him.

9 So this is how you should pray:

“God, our Father who is in heaven,

we want people to give honour to you.

10 We want the day when you rule everyone to come soon.

We want everyone to obey you on earth, like everyone in heaven obeys you.

11 Please give us the food that we need today.

12 We have forgiven people who have done wrong things to us.

In the same way, please forgive us for the wrong things that we have done.

13 Do not let us agree to do wrong things.

Keep us safe from Satan.” ’

14 Then Jesus said, ‘When other people do wrong things against you, you must forgive them. Then God, your Father in heaven, will also forgive you for the wrong things that you have done. 15 But if you do not forgive other people, then your Father will not forgive you.’

Jesus teaches people about different things

16 Jesus then said, ‘You may decide to fast for some time. But do not look sad so that people know you are doing a special thing. Hypocrites want people to see how good they are. They make their faces dirty. Then other people can see that they are fasting. I tell you this: people have praised them and that is the only gift that they will get. 17 But when you fast for some time, you should wash your face. Make your hair look nice. 18 Then other people will not know that you are doing a special thing. But God, your Father, will know. You do not see him but he sees what you do secretly. He will give you good things in return.

6:16Some people stop eating for hours or days so that they can have more time with God. This causes them to feel nearer to God when they pray. But the hypocrites did it for the wrong reason.

19 Do not want to have many valuable things here in the world. Insects or water can destroy those kinds of things. Or people may come into your house and they can rob you of those things. 20 Instead, you should want to have valuable things in heaven. Insects and water cannot destroy anything there. Men cannot rob you of your things there. 21 Then you will be thinking a lot about heaven, because that is where you keep your valuable things.

6:21People think about their valuable things, so it is better to have them stored with God in heaven above. They will be safe there. We will also think about going to be with God.

22 Your eyes are like lamps and your body is like a room. Make sure that your eyes are like a clean lamp, then your whole body will have light. 23 If your eyes are not good, then your whole body will be in the dark. If the light in you has become dark, you will be living in a very dark place.’

6:23Jesus himself is the light that he is talking about. If a person lets Jesus rule his life, there will be nothing dark or hidden. But some people do not believe Jesus' words. They are like a person who is living in the dark.

24 Jesus said, ‘Nobody can work as a slave for two masters at the same time. Maybe he will hate one of the masters, but he will love the other one. Or he will work well for one master, but he will think bad things about the other master. God and money are like different masters. You cannot work for both of them.

25 So I tell you this. You should not worry about how to stay alive. Do not worry about the food and drink that you need. Do not worry about the clothes that you need to wear. Your life is more important than the food that you eat. Your body is more important than your clothes. 26 Think about the wild birds. They do not plant seeds in the ground. They do not cut down plants to eat. They have no buildings to store food. But God, your Father in heaven, gives them food to eat. You are much more valuable than the birds. 27 Even if you always worry about your life, you cannot make it as much as one hour longer!

28 You should not worry about your clothes. Think about how the wild flowers grow. They do not work or make clothes for themselves. 29 But I tell you this. Even one wild flower is more beautiful than King Solomon was. And King Solomon wore the most beautiful clothes. 30 It is God that gives beautiful clothes even to the grass. One day the grass is growing in the field, but the next day people will cut it and burn it. God will certainly take care of you, much more than he takes care of the grass. You should trust him more than you do!

6:30People burned dry grass and wild flowers on fires to cook their food.

31 So do not worry about these things. Do not always say, “What will we eat?”, or “What will we drink?”, or “What will we wear?” 32 People who do not know God are always trying to get these things. But as for you, your Father in heaven knows that you need them. 33 Instead, always think about the things that are important in the kingdom of heaven. Always do what God shows you is right. Then he will also give you the things that you need each day. 34 So do not have trouble in your mind about what might happen tomorrow. Tomorrow will have its own problems. It is enough for you to be thinking each day about the problems of that day.’