Today's Word of Encouragement
June 30, 2020
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
. . . 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 6:3-4).
In Luke 6:1-2 Jesus revealed the hypocrisy of the rabbis with regard to their benevolence, which benevolence was helpful to those in need, but was motivated by pride and self-righteousness. ‘Giving alms’ (also translated ‘charity’) was part of their worship, since it was done in the context of attending Temple. In vv. 3-4 Jesus spoke of the true attitude and motive behind giving an offering in worship.
‘Giving to the needy’ was discussed in GIVING (Today's Word of Encouragement, June 20, 2020). Regarding our giving to the needy, Jesus said, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. This is an Hebraism - a Hebrew idiom or expression (like Forrest Gump’s expression, “Stupid is as stupid does”). In context, Jesus said, “When you give, do it with the utmost secrecy.”
The motive behind such giving is covered in Matthew 22:37-39 - love for the Lord and love for your fellow man. In fact, everything a Christian says and does is to be motivated by these two great commandments. Any other motive becomes self-serving. That was the problem Jesus had with the self-righteous rabbis - they acted out of love for self.
What about the ‘reward’? Jesus didn’t define what the reward for such charity would be, but here are some thoughts:
• Such charity motivated by love is pleasing to God.
• Such charity motivated by love truly helps those in need.
• Such charity motivated by love is a genuine blessing to the Christian.
• Such charity motivated by love is genuine worship.
But Jesus said God would openly reward the truly charitable person, or did He? Most New Testament scholars tell us the word ‘openly’ is not included in the best manuscripts. A.T. Robertson, renown Greek scholar and theologian, said, “Jesus does not promise a public reward for private piety.” Nor should we seek for such open reward. Gracious giving that helps someone truly in need is its own reward.
“Thank You, Father, for teaching me how to give, not only through Your Word, but also by Your example. You loved me and sent Jesus Christ to save me from sin. You have demonstrated the greatest of all loves, given the greatest of all gifts, and demonstrated the greatest example of true charity. May I give to others as You have given to me and thereby bring honor and glory to You. Amen.”