Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Giving to the Needy

1 'Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 

2 'Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 

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. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.  {Matthew 6:1-4}
I came across this passage in during my devotional time yesterday and it really struck me: often we can and do give to charity or help others to be seen to be charitable or generous, rather than just doing it from a place of love and wanting to do the right thing.
We forget that God knows our hearts and He knows our motives for doing what we do. If those motives are directed towards pleasing others, our good works will be like dirty rags, no matter how amazing they look to others (Isaiah 64:6). But when our hearts and intentions are pure and directed on living out God’s love and His will, even the smallest of things are counted as the most incredible sacrifice or gift.
So God is basically telling us that, if our motivation for giving to the needy is recognition from others, that will be the only commendation that we get- we will get no recognition for our ‘good works’ from Him. But if we are generous and charitable because we want to serve people who are in need because God commands it and showed us how to love through Jesus, regardless of who is watching, then He will reward and commend you for the work that you do.
This challenged me, as you can sometimes feel a natural ‘high’ from doing good things for others and then telling people about it- I don’t necessarily mean boasting, even just innocently- but if the ‘high’ comes from people’s reactions rather than from the act of being charitable, you need to examine your heart as to what your motivation is for giving to the needy.
The bottom line is this: you can have your reward on earth, or in heaven – I know which one I would prefer!
Ronell x

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