June 6, 2107
"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. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 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
It seems that Jesus is assuming that we will be giving to those in need—-always. That’s the first thing that grabs me when I read this and it leads to me to ask myself, “Do I give to those in need?” Frankly I could give more and the giving that I do provide does not cause me to suffer or “do without”.
C.S. Lewis once remarked somewhere that “if our giving does not pinch us a bit, we’re not giving enough”. I like that. It causes me to think about how much I waste each day on things I could do without if I really wanted to.
But getting past the responsibility of giving, Jesus again is talking about the motivation for giving. When we help someone are we doing it for recognition or to show our love for God—secretly. A lot of the charity that goes on in the USA is driven by egos—- personal recognition, the right to name a building, an endowment named in honor of the donor, etc. Those folks have their reward, according to Jesus, and should expect nothing else from God.
But there are those who give because He has given to them abundantly already. I don’t give so that God will give more to me (even though, in fact, He will); I give because He has given to me so much already that my charity is a mirror (dimly, but a reflection nonetheless) of His charity towards me.
I suppose that those that don’t give—-freely and with no expectations of tax benefits or congratulations—-have never come to understand just how much He has already given them and how much more He is prepared to bless and give to them.
“God, open our eyes to what we have already received and help us to share it! Forgive us for holding back our pennies when you have given us an immeasurable inheritance. Help us to be extravagant in our giving!”