Scripture: Matthew 6:3-4 CEB
“But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that you may give to the poor in secret. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you.”
Do you still get excited about Christmas morning? I remember the heightened level of excitement my sister and I had when we were very young. It was almost a challenge to see who would wake up first on Christmas morning. It was then a challenge to see how much noise we could make in an attempt to wake up our sleeping parents. The presents were all under the tree. It was obvious that Santa Clause had visited in the wee hours of the night. The excitement was palpable and I can still feel it when I relive those memories. The excitement was all about opening presents and finding out what you had been given. Of course, then spending the rest of the day playing with toys and trying out everything that you had received. This is the excitement of Christmas when we are young.
At some point in our life the excitement changes. When we are younger the excitement is all about opening the gifts we will receive. When we get older the excitement changes to watching others receive the gifts we have given. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still fun to receive. I believe when we are older we tend to receive more joy and excitement in watching others receive what we have given them. It isn’t just at Christmas time either. I remember giving Debbie her birthday presents the first year we were dating. I had put a lot of thought, time and energy into picking just the right things. I couldn’t wait for her to open the presents and see her reaction. I remember the night I proposed marriage to Debbie and the excitement of waiting to see her reaction to the ring. The same kind of excitement was there when we watched the girls every Christmas and birthday as they opened the presents we hoped would bring them joy. It is exciting to see others receive the gifts you have given.
This is the principle behind Jesus’ teaching about how we should give. Jesus says we should not give so that others can see us. Rather, we should give without anyone knowing so that we can see them receive. God is the only one with whom we should be concerned when it comes to our giving. God knows how generous we are with what God has entrusted to us. God knows whether we give in ways that bless others. God also knows if we spend the vast majority of what we have on ourselves. Jesus says, “But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that you may give to the poor in secret.” Our only motivation in giving to the poor should be obedience to God and compassion for others. The blessing we will receive is knowing that others are being helped by our giving. When you give, give because of your love for God and your love for others.
What will be your motivation when you give today? Will you look for ways to be generous today? Will you be generous with your time? Will you be generous with your attention? Will you be generous in service to others? Will you be generous with your ideas and talent? If the opportunity presents itself … will you be generous with your financial resources? God calls us to be generous people and help those in need. Jesus reminds us that this call is not so that we will be noticed. It is so that we will receive the reward of knowing that we have pleased God. When you give today, may it be for God’s glory and not your own.
Prayer: Generous and giving God, thank you for all that you have blessed me with. You have given me time, talent, abilities and money. Empower me through your Holy Spirit to use all my resources generously and for your glory. May I be a blessing to someone today through the way I give. In the name of Jesus. Amen.