A clear, glass vase with bell-shaped lilies of the valley, pink tulips, and yellow daffodils greeted Kim at her front door. For seven months, an anonymous believer in Jesus sent Kim beautiful bouquets from a local flower shop. Each monthly gift arrived with a note filled with scriptural encouragement and signed: “Love, Jesus.”
Kim shared photos of these secret deliveries on Facebook. The flowers gave her opportunity to celebrate an individual’s kindness and to acknowledge the way God expressed His love to her through His people. As she trusted Him through her battle with a terminal disease, every colorful blossom and handwritten note affirmed God’s loving compassion for her.
The sender’s anonymity reflects the heart motive Jesus encourages His people to adopt when giving. He warns against practicing righteous acts “to be seen” by others (Matthew 6:1). Good deeds are intended to be expressions of worship overflowing from hearts grateful for all God’s done for us. Highlighting our own generosity with the hope or expectation of being honored can take the focus off the Giver of all good things—Jesus.
God knows when we give with good intentions (v. 4). He simply wants our generosity motivated by love as we give Him the glory, the honor, and the praise.
Matthew 6 is part of Christ’s well-known Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3–7:27). In this chapter, He emphasizes three things believers should do in secret: give (vv. 1–4), pray (vv. 5–15), and fast (vv. 16–18). In explaining each of these actions Jesus starts with a prohibition, gives a command, and ends with a promise: “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (vv. 4, 6, 18).
In contrast, hypocrites make their acts known “to be honored by others” (v. 2). The word hypocrite comes from the Greek hypokrites and refers to actors in a play. It implies a lack of sincerity and genuineness. Jesus is emphasizing the importance of the motive behind our actions.