Saturday, July 18, 2015

Matthew 6:1-4

Jesus continues preaching on the mountainside in Matthew 6. In this chapter He addresses sermon to several acts of righteousness and how they should be practiced. In verses 1-4 Jesus talks about giving to the needy.

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Jesus assumes that his listeners will be giving to the needy, but He want them to know that the manner in which they give makes a difference, particularly to God. Giving should not be motivated by a desire for self aggrandizement or the approval of other. Instead, it needs to be done as an act directed toward God and in private. If we give because we love God, then the giving should be between the giver and God alone.

Back in the day, the Pharisee would walk into the temple with his money bag on his belt, fully loaded with change. He would slowly dump the contents in the poor box. The noise of the coins falling would echo throughout the house, drawing the attention of worshipers to the man's alleged generosity. Swelled with pride, the Pharisee would do his victory walk to the gate, having impressed the rank and file with his generosity.

Jesus says that people like this have already received their reward for giving. However, those that give in secret, without making a show, will receive God's approval and eternal rewards await these people.


So, what are some contemporary ways that people "blow trumpets" to call attention to their giving?

-Have you ever seen a memorial plaque on an object at church? That's one way. Others will designate their gifts. In the world, politicians and philanthropists just call a press conference. 

What does "do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing" mean in vs 3?

-It means that giving behavior should be something that is automatic, perhaps done without thinking about anything other than the need. It should be a natural spiritual response produced in us by God, that we do not even notice. 

What is the best way of ensuring secrecy in giving?

-Simple. Keep it quiet. Don't talk about it except to God.

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