“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 men. I tell you the truth, 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)."
Motivation is critical to God. Jesus says if our motivation for giving is to gain approval from people, we already have our reward. We sought the nod or smile of our friends, or Pastor, or parent or ….. . That’s all the reward we’ll get - “they have received their reward in full."
Jesus offers a better reward - the Father’s reward. The way we receive God’s reward is to give to please God. So we must guard ourselves from giving to seeking affirmation from people. A way to do this is to give secretly so no one but God knows.
During this time leading up to Resurrection Sunday, consider giving with God as the only audience. Hand a $5 bill to the guy on the freeway off ramp. Give a $100 bill to the lady at work whose husband just left her and their 3 kids - only give it in a way so even she doesn’t know you gave it. You get the idea, give to bless the other - that’s enough reward.
What a great season to think about being generous in response to God’s amazing generosity. Learning to imitate God’s generosity, now that’s a wild goal. “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son."
Jesus said, “I came to give my life as a ransom for many.” This Lent, fast from the need to be affirmed by others for your generosity. Give from a heart of love for God and for others.
~ Tim Saur