Giving to the Needy
“Beware of practising 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.
“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. But when you give to the needy, do not 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
No one became poor by giving. — Anne Frank.
We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone. — Dr Loretta Scott.
This is still the Sermon on the mount, but things have taken a step forward. Jesus moves on from telling his disciples hoe to live and talks about spiritual disciplines of giving, praying and fasting. Yes giving is up there with praying and fasting, it is something that his hearers, Jews in the first century, would have been required to do. So should we, it is part of our spirituality. Our relationship with out possessions matters in the same way as our relationship with God and with other people matter. We are required to give.
How we give in important. Jesus seems to contradict himself here, in saying do your giving in secret, isn’t he contradicting what he said earlier in the Sermon on the Mount, to let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven?
No. The earlier one was about integrity. The second about being religious in order to look good. Letting your light shine is not about being seen to pray, fast or give in public. If you are doing this for your own reputation, now is the time to stop. Not to stop praying, fasting and giving, obviously, but to stop doing it in public.
This is our public duty:
Learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.
Stand up for what you believe in. Stand up for those who have no voice or no hope. Be brave in the face of adversity. Silence is complicity.