Growing In Faith
Posted: January 30, 2021
Author: Kerry Lytle
Matthew 6:1-4, ESV
"Watch out! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in Heaven. When you give to someone in need, don't do as the hypocrites do-blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you."
Jesus’ illustration of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing follows His serious condemnation of “hypocrites,” likely the Jewish religious leaders.
When we give without our left hand knowing what our right hand is doing—we avoid the temptation of hypocrisy and lay up a truly priceless reward in eternity.
Do Jesus’ words “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” mean we should never let others know about our giving? Not necessarily. The focus is on the motive of our giving. Our generosity is to be motivated by our love for God and our focus on eternity rather than the temporary praises of people or to look "spiritual". Do we do things just to make ourselves look "good" or do we do them because we truly care? Because of the temptation for pride associated with public displays of generosity, it is best not to draw attention to our gifts to those in need. God rewards in His own timing.
We shouldn't waltz around, making a big to-do about how spiritual and generous we are, thank God that we are able to give what we can.
Jesus isn’t primarily saying everyone should give in secret and never talk about their generosity. After all, sometimes people are inspired by cheerful givers to be more generous.
Instead, Jesus is exposing the heart that’s powering the kind of giving or acts of kindness. Is it a heart for attention or is it a heart that pleases God?
Jesus’s point isn’t that no one but the Father should know about your generosity and spiritual practices. Instead, we need to watch out if our motive for sharing these things is for applause or for bragging rights.
To give in secret means to seek to honor God alone. In this way, our giving does not become a spiritual lever we can pull to draw attention to ourselves.
Does your heart crave recognition and praise for your giving? Or are you able to give in secret with a heart seeking to honor God?