Don’t be a spiritual showoff!
That’s what came to mind this morning as I read Matthew 6.1-4 during “coffee with the Lord”
“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.” (NIV 2011 edition)
Pretty straightforward… You want your giving to be noticed by others (giving at any level!)… No reward from God!! This applies all the way from the way you drop your giving in the offering plate to whether or not you want a building named after you for a large endowment… (Kinda makes you wonder if it’s appropriate for religious organizations to appeal to the pride of donors in order to get gifts doesn’t it? … Of course, the end justifies the means, right? 😉 …Moving right along…
Jesus said, if you want notoriety by others that’s all the notoriety you’ll get… no heavenly reward.
On the other hand, if you give just because there is a need… give from your heart… give what you can… give without a desire for attention… give as the Lord leads you… give as if you were giving to the Lord… God will notice! And He will reward you (and believe me, He’s incredibly generous)! Can you imagine the notoriety of a heavenly reward – a heavenly announcement!
Just a fun story to illustrate this… It sometimes takes some ingenuity to make this work. Sharon and I were aware of a family going through a real time of financial trial. Since we wanted our gift to them to be totally anonymous, we did it in cash (risky), put it in a plain envelope, no return address, and went to a nearby town to mail the letter. Then simply prayed for them and waited… They got it! It was absolutely delightful to hear this family rejoice in a “testimony time” at church over the fantastic “miracle” God had performed on their behalf! Just gotta tell you… it was FUN! FUN!! FUN!!! (And the best part? To this day they don’t know who did it… they thought God did it (and he did!)