(This message may be used as an individual sermon or as part of the series.)

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18 – QUIET MINISTRY

#16 – Sermon On The Mount 

If you are a child of God because you have trusted Jesus as your Savior, God has given you ministry. Ephesians 2:10, Colossians 3:24, Galatians 5:13 

In our text we find Jesus telling us that the best kind of ministry that we can have is quiet ministry.  

Quiet ministry is simply serving the Lord without drawing attention to ourselves.  The Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day often drew attention to themselves when they performed religious service. They wanted the attention and praise of men.  They were hypocrites. They lacked sincerity. 

Matthew 6:1 – Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 

The word “alms” refers to ‘acts of righteousness’. This could refer to anything that is by nature good and helpful.

Jesus is saying “When you do good things, don’t do them to be seen of men. If you do things to receive men’s praise, you have no praise from God.” 

If I do something so someone will think I’m a nice person, I have no reward from God.

If I do something so people will note how religious I am, I have no reward from God.

If I do something good so that in return someone will do good to me, I have no reward from God.  

Is Jesus saying that if I do something good and someone sees it, I get no reward from God?  No.

Jesus is saying, if I do something good looking for the praise and adoration of men, I have no reward from God.

If you are doing something good out of devotion to God, you will draw as little attention to yourself as possible.    

When people find out about what you have done, it will not be because you drew attention to yourself, but because God wants your good works to be a testimony for Him. Matthew 5:14-16 

So, the key word is “motive”.   

If your motive is to bring glory to God, you will do things quietly. You will have a quiet ministry. And if, you are a Christian, you will be awarded by God at the “Judgment Seat of Christ”. 2 Corinthians 5:10 

In the passage before us Jesus itemizes three areas of quiet ministry. 


Vs. 2 – In this verse Jesus is talking about sharing with the poor, giving alms to those in need. 

Jesus is telling us, “Don’t blow your own horn” when you give.  Don’t make a big deal of it.  There are people who give to charity, and yes even churches, so that their giving will be recognized.  That’s what a hypocrite will do.  He is acting as if he or she is concerned for those in need. In reality, he or she is concerned that they be thought well of.

Jesus tells us here, “that they have their reward”. They actually do receive the praise of men.  But they receive no reward from God. 

Vs. 3 – Jesus gives a figurative illustration of quiet ministry.  Quiet ministry doesn’t let the active hand, which for most of us is the right hand, let the inactive hand, the left hand, know what it is doing.  We are to do our giving and then forget it! 

Vs. 4 – Giving in secret doesn’t always mean that nobody knows about your giving.  It means that you do it as quietly as possible. 

Please notice that Jesus doesn’t say, “If you give alms”, he says “When you give alms”.  Giving is something that God has designed to help to meet the needs of those suffering. 

When Paul had a meeting concerning his ministry to the Gentiles with some of the early church leaders, Peter, James, and John, Paul reports, Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do. (Galatians 2:10) 

Romans 12:13 – Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. 


Vs. 5 – Please note that Jesus is not condemning corporate prayer, praying together, or out loud in church. 

Jesus is condemning those who make their private prayers public.  These people pray where they can be seen and appreciated by men for their dedication.  These people do not pray to be heard of God.  They pray to be heard of men.

Jesus says “They have their reward” which is the praise of men. 

There is another challenge in this verse for those of us who pray publicly.  We must be careful that our prayers in church and elsewhere are actually talking to God, and not trying to tickle the ears of men. 

Vs. 6 – Notice again that Jesus is not saying, “if” you pray. Jesus says “when” you pray! 

Prayer is to be a very integral part of the life of the Christian. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Ephesians 6:18

Jesus tells us here, that our personal prayers to God are to be just that, personal.

Jesus tells us to go into our “closets” to pray and to shut the door. 

A closet can be any place that you can be alone with God. 

Now why would you want to get alone with God?

  1. Only God can answer your prayers.
  2. Your body, Christian, is the temple of the Holy Ghost. God lives inside.
  3. God wants your fellowship and your dependence on Him.
  4. God is deserving of your worship and adoration.
  5. God understands and knows you better than anyone else. You can pour out your heart to Him and He will understand.
  6. God has promised to answer your prayers. 


Vs. 16 – Like giving and praying, fasting is a private ministry. When a Christian fasts, nobody should know it. People who wanted to appear religious would do all they could to show that they were fasting. 

Fasting may be done in times of mourning.

Fasting may be done in times of conviction of sin.

Fasting may be done in times of prolonged prayer.

Jesus seemed to assume that there would be times when the Christian would fast. 

Vss. 17-18 – Jesus is telling us here that when we fast, don’t make it a public issue.  Go out of your way to not look like your fasting. 

God, who will see your private fast, will reward you openly.

I’d like to make an application of this principle.

Perhaps you don’t fast now, or have never fasted. 

But there are times when you have made other sacrifices for God or for the benefit of man.

Perhaps you sacrificed a dinner out to give to a missions project.

Perhaps you have sacrificed your time to help a Christian friend in need.

Perhaps you have sacrificed your own career for the sake of your husband and/or children.

Perhaps you’ve sacrificed to take care of your parents.

Perhaps you’ve sacrificed for the sake of your church.

I believe that we should perform these sacrifices as quietly as possible and not draw attention to ourselves.

And I further believe, that God, who sees us privately will reward us openly.

And besides, Christian, when we consider what Christ has done for us, no sacrifice is too great. 

Let’s be like the servant in Jesus’ story in Luke 17:7-10.