Giving for God’s or My Glory?
Matthew 6 is full of great money managing advice. It also shows you that your spiritual life and financial situation are often tied closely together. Either your heart is inclined to boast, be proud, and flaunt what you have, storing up treasures for yourself. Or, it is humble, quiet, and focused on what God wants for you, with an eternal kingdom focus. Though the contrasts sound quite different, it can be hard to really see which category you fall in at times.
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward with your Father in heaven. So whenever you give to the poor, don’t sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be applauded by people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward. But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” – Matthew 6:1-4
Delayed gratification is difficult to wait for when especially when you don’t know what the end result is. Why are you waiting for something that won’t even happen in this lifetime? You know that the feeling of appreciation and applause feels really good. It’s such a confidence booster. It’s not really a big deal, is it?
It all depends on your heart. Where is your heart at and what are the intentions of your giving? Is it because you truly want to help someone in need or because you want to feel good about yourself? If you gave a gift anonymously to someone and you didn’t know the end result of it, could you still take value and excitement out of it?
Jesus told you to give in such a way that you don’t know what your left hand and right hand are doing. You are part of the body of Christ. It is made up of many members. If you give to someone in need, are you turning around and telling others about it? Why? Is it because you witnessed something that the Lord did in it and you want to give Him the praise? Or, is it because it was a fun experience and you want people to acknowledge your good deed?
These are tough questions and ones that challenge the heart. The hypocrites that Jesus was referring to are people that used to go into the temple and obnoxiously drop their giving into the offering box. The box had a trumpet or funnel shaped top to it. The money would slide down the funnel into the box, unable for thieves’ hands to get in and steal. By throwing the money in a certain way, it would make a loud clamoring sound making it obvious that they were giving a lot. The people’s reward that did that was the recognition of others. That was where the reward ended.
But what about the people who silently gave? What about all the times you give to others and don’t tell people about it? What’s your reward?
Technically, we as humans shouldn’t get a reward, regardless of the great deeds we may do. We are sinners apart from Christ. But, because of the Lord’s gracious forgiveness and profound love, He not only gives us the right into heaven, He also gives us His inheritance too. The Holy Spirit is only the down payment of our inheritance. We have so much to look forward to on top of that! This doesn’t mean that we’ll live in mansions, drive fancy cars, and be swimming in pools of money. The rich inheritance of the Lord runs much deeper and way more significant than the riches of this world. I don’t know what all the rewards from the Lord will be, but I do know that living in pure joy, love, peace, and contentment will be completely satisfying and amazing unto themselves.
So, how do you give in secret? There are many creative ways to do it. Do some research if you aren’t sure. Pray about it. Is there someone that’s on your heart? Ask the Father how He wants you to give. What does that person need? Some anonymous flowers? A bag of groceries left on someone’s doorstep? Giving the waitress an extra big tip before you leave the restaurant? Think about ways you can bless those in need.
I do want to say that it’s okay to give to others and they know about it too. There’s also nothing wrong in sharing a story of giving with others. Michael and I watched a couple on Youtube go around and pay for people’s rent. It was inspiring. But you could tell that they genuinely did it out of caring hearts. They posted the video in order to help inspire others to do something similar. Then there were other videos of different people doing it, and you could tell they were doing entirely for the publicity.
Inspire, bless, share God’s work in your life and in others. But always make sure that you are keeping your heart and intentions in check. Ask yourself, am I doing this for me or for the Lord? If it’s for you, don’t do it. There’ll be other opportunities and the Lord will help the people in need. If it is for the Lord, enjoy the excitement of giving and praise Him for all that He’s provided for you to be able to do it.