I Was Not Trying to Be Noticed, I Promise!

“Do not practice your piety before men to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 6:1

Saint John Chrysostom writing about this verse said, “When Jesus warned, “Beware of practicing your piety before men,” he then added pointedly, “to be seen by them.” … Alms may be given in the presence of others primary to be seen by them, or they may be given in the presence of others but not to be seen by them…He (Jesus) is not focusing simply on the outward act done but the inward intent.”

Spinning Bikes on Porch

Today was day 2 of the New Testament Challenge. I missed Day 1’s reading and I wasn’t sure that I was even going to do the NT Challenge. But today I took a small pocket Bible to my gym and got on one of the spinning bikes. I rode 7 miles while reading the first 12 chapters of Matthew. Very nice!

But there I am reading the Bible outside in public and reading about how I am not to practice my piety before others to be seen by them. I wasn’t reading the Bible to be seen by them but in order to get both the workout in and do days 1 and 2 of the challenge. I am not sure anyone noticed what I was doing but I certainly wasn’t doing it to be noticed. Of course, now I am wondering if anyone noticed and what they might have thought to see this guy reading the Bible right out there in public … funny.



Filed under Orthodox Christianity, Scripture Rumination

5 responses to “I Was Not Trying to Be Noticed, I Promise!

  1. It’s a big worry. I often wear a wooden pectoral cross, but I’m not clergy. I started doing it to stop people including me in lewd conversations in the pub, and also to say ‘it’s OK to talk about God with me’. It’s a two-edged sword though. I have a bishop’s blessing, but it still concerns me.
    I suppose you could keep your bible in a plain brown paper wrapper?

  2. sadly, i think a great deal of the world is too busy getting the world to notice themselves, the “look at me!” syndrome – to actually notice anything but themselves.

  3. You’re reading your Bible in public and you’re worried about this?

    Dang. I used to lead a praise band, and I was all worried about being a “good enough” praise and worship leader. I wanted to be noticed for how good of a praise and worship leader I was!!

    I don’t lead praise and worship anymore.

    I wouldn’t worry about the Bible thing. There’s also Deut. 6:8. Was it about looking impressive? No, more like a desperate, “Do whatever you HAVE to to make sure you keep these things at the forefront of your mind.”

    Seems like reading it during exercise meets the requirement.

    But who am I to say…

  4. Kat

    I wear a prayer rope on my wrist openly, but not to say “look how Orthodox I am!!”. Most people I work with on a day to day basis do not know what Orthodoxy is, and when they see the prayer rope, and ask me about it, I see it as an opportunity to engage them in conversation, and teach them about it, should they be more interested.

    I think intent is very key, as Chrysostom says. if your intent is to be seen as being “oh so faithful” in front of your own peers, then this is pride. But if the intent is that you are doing something to bring yourself closer to God, and in the process someone accidentally notices and inquires, shouldn’t we teach them rather than putting the Bible or prayer rope away and say, “oh, eh…its nothing…”?

  5. I can’t figure out if you are on the right or left in the picture….

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