Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. Matthew 6:1
For Christopher, a physically disabled veteran, everyday activities had become more challenging, took longer to finish, and increased his pain. Still, he did his best to serve his wife and child. Passersby would see him using a push-mower to cut his lawn every week.
One day, Christopher received a letter—and an expensive riding lawnmower—from an anonymous donor. The secret giver’s satisfaction came through the privilege of helping someone in need.
Jesus doesn’t say that all our giving should be in secret, but He does remind us to check our motives when we give (Matthew 6:1). He also said: “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” (v. 2). While God expects us to be openhanded givers, He encourages us to avoid doing good deeds in front of people for the purpose of receiving accolades or special recognition (v. 3).
When we realize everything we have comes from God, we can be secret givers who don’t need to pat our own backs or gain the admiration of others. Our all-knowing Giver of all good things delights in the genuine generosity of His people. Nothing beats the reward of His approval.
How has God helped you through someone else’s secret giving? Who can you help with an anonymous gift today?
Loving God, please bless me with opportunities to give as selflessly and sacrificially as You have given to me.
Read Compassion: Learning to Love Like Jesus at DiscoverySeries.org/Q0208.
Having dealt with the burdensome teachings of the Pharisees (Matthew 5:21–48), Jesus now deals with their hypocritical piety. He discusses three acts of piety common in all religions that were meticulously observed by every devout Jew—almsgiving, prayer, and fasting (6:1–18). Almsgiving, or giving to the poor, was commanded in the Law (Deuteronomy 15:7–11). And the book of Proverbs says that those who help the poor are blessed (Proverbs 14:21; 19:17). However, Jesus warns not to use this duty as a platform to earn human praise (Matthew 6:1–2). God isn’t pleased with a showcased or theatrical display of pride and self-glorification. Giving should be done “in secret”—only witnessed by God. Then God “who sees what is done in secret” will reward us (v. 4).