March Like Jesus
… In Our Giving
Scripture Reading: Matthew 6:1-4
Key Verse: Matthew 6:1
“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.
Giving to others in need was not a new concept when Jesus gave today’s “marching order”. What was new is how Jesus wants His followers to give.
Those listening to Jesus had watched the spiritual leaders of the day, the Pharisees and teachers of the Law, give from their resources in a very showy way. Jesus knew they were giving to get the admiration of other people rather than God.
Once again, this teaching of Jesus reminds us that God watches more than the act of giving but zeroes in on the giver’s motivation.
Jesus provides the underlying reason: when we give with the wrong motivation, we lose the reward the Father in Heaven has for us. Jesus was not specific about that reward, but we know how great and generous our Father in Heaven is. And we want His reward over the admiration of any person!
This marching order is also a good reminder of how closely our Father in Heaven is watching us every moment of our lives. The Psalmist David wrote:
The Lord is watching everywhere, keeping His eye on both the evil and the good. (Psalm15:3)
I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! (Psalm 139:7)
We could say that everyone has an Accountability Partner, whether they like it or not and He has perfect judgement!
As you give your money or do good to help others, learn to ask yourself ahead of time: what is my motivation for giving?
I find that many times I might give because it was hard to say “no” for some reason. In other words, sometimes giving is a guilt trip more than from a cheerful heart. I do not think that is sinful, but it simply does not get the reward that Jesus talks about in our scripture for today.
There is one other motivation for giving found in Matthew 5: 16:
“In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
Here Jesus highlights the idea that the giving of money or a helping hand can bring glory to our Father in Heaven. In other words, our good deeds spotlight what God has done in us to create a generous spirit.
When we pass out food or share clothing, people may see us. But our motivation need not be to get people to admire us but for us to admire God.
Bottom line, Christ-followers want to check their motivations when giving their resources to those in need. Let’s go for God’s rewards!
Father, guide my giving and check my heart’s motivation in all situations so that You find me worthy of Your rewards. In Jesus’s Name I pray, amen.