Giving to the Needy

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.

Matthew 6:2-4

There is a natural quality within most human beings to read an injunction like that in the verses above, and make a sort of legal check-list, so let’s be very clear about Jesus’ intentions in this teaching: He is not making a set of rules, procedures or protocols about how to give to those in need. Instead, He is speaking directly to our inner motivation for giving. Notice that whether or not to help those in need is not even mentioned; it is assumed.

The ones He has dubbed “hypocrites” are helping with a motivation for self aggrandizement, they want the praise and respect of their peers, to bolster their social positions. It would seem that this might impress “society” but it doesn’t have quite the same impact on the Lord. These folks wanted to impress their peers, and evidently they have their wish; and that’s all they will get.

In the Kingdom of Heaven, God wants His people to help those in need because they love God and their fellow Men, not for any worldly ulterior motive. Consider this: Has your relationship with God ever grown closer because you were praised by men? Everyone likes a little praise now and then, and a little recognition can go a long way to encourage people along the right path, but simply doing things to become popular never quite seems to bring anyone closer to God, for God doesn’t operate that way.

Quiet sacrifice for His Kingdom’s sake, on the other hand, will bring us closer to Him if we desire nothing in return for our sacrifice. The Kingdom is a place of love, community and healing precisely because the human motivation for self advancement is not present. Where this has not largely taken hold, there is little healing to be had, and love is merely discussed in academic terms.

About Don Merritt

A long time teacher and writer, Don hopes to share his varied life's experiences in a different way with a Christian perspective.
This entry was posted in Bible and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Giving to the Needy

  1. DWMartens says:

    Acts 4:32-37 is a clear example of what Jesus is teaching here, and demonstrates your statement, “a little recognition can go a long way to encourage people along the right path”: Acts 4:36-37 “Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means ‘son of encouragement’), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.” Joseph was generous in a Godly, loving way, and he was “Barnabas”, an encourager. Just how serious of an offense selfish hypocritical giving is to Jesus is shown in the following verses of Acts 5:1-11. As a lesson to others, and us, Ananias and Sapphira didn’t even “receive their [expected] reward in full” in the sense that Jesus related in Matthew 6:2!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s