How should we give? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
In Jesus’s day, people wanted to get honor. To some extent, we all want this today, but honor is not the driving force that it used to be. In some ways, I think it is, but we don’t recognize it. If you’re on social media, you want your posts to have likes and shares. You want to have followers on Twitter. You want subscribers and views on YouTube. High school can often just be a big popularity contest and truly, high school never ends.
Jesus talks about the proper method of giving though.
2 “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.
Something that can irk me is when a company makes an advertisement and in the advertisement, they talk about how much they are giving to help something, which has been something common during this pandemic. Even more bothersome to me is when the giving is used to encourage people to get the product. “If you give to us, we will donate so much to charity.”
It’s worth pointing out though that Jesus doesn’t condemn giving for the sake of honor. However, He points us to the true honor. It is the honor of the Father that we are seeking. God sees what we do in secret and He will reward us for what we do. We often think that seeking something for yourself is bad. It’s not. It’s how and why. Jesus tells us to seek the honor that comes from God.
This isn’t to say that your giving can never be shown publicly. It can be. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. However, the goal of our giving should not be so people will just think how awesome we are. It should be for the kingdom of God and the good of the other person.
In Jesus’s day, the Pharisees would publicly proclaim when they were given. They did get their reward in full right there. They got the praise of people around them. Jesus wants us to seek the higher praise. This is the praise of God. The praise of people is temporary and will fade. The praise of God lasts forever.
And really, that’s something we need to keep in mind. We focus so much on temporary things and lose sight of eternal things. We will be around God forever and forever experience how we dealt with Him. If we lived our lives in love of Him, we will live our eternity that way. If we lived lives of hating Him, we will live forever that way too. Each of us is building an eternal dwelling in some sense and when we get to eternity, we will have the dwelling we built.