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Matthew 6:1-4

Worshipful Giving

1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: 4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

We have been looking at the connection that Jesus made between obedience and worship. It is only natural that the next thing on His agenda was to address the issue of worship itself. Chapter six of the gospel of Matthew begins with a discourse on hypocritical attitudes that we often carry into worship.

"Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them..." There is a well known and extremely wealthy family in the United States who are descended from a self-made multimillionaire. This man became very well known for his philanthropy. He found that, if he gave money to the right causes, he could garner a lot of political power which could be used to make more money. Thus, he proudly bragged about his practice of "giving for profit."

Jesus taught that giving for the express purpose of earning popularity points was wrong. Many people benefited from the money that this millionaire gave away, but the only benefit that he received was from his political friends. There was no reward for him in heaven.

Giving is a form of worship. It does not matter whether we are giving to the church or to a needy person. Jesus taught that being kind to others was the same as being kind to Him. Nor does it matter what we are giving. The musician who gives of his time to rehearse and to sing in the choir is included in this rule on alms giving. The key to worship, however, is that we must do it in spirit and in truth. Each of us must dig deep into our hearts to search out our true motives.

Philosopher Ayn Rand built her whole philosophy of Objectivism around the truth that everything a person does, even giving to a loved one, is motivated by selfishness. This was an extremely wise observation for an atheist to make. Ayn Rand put her finger right on the problem that has plagued mankind since the fall, i.e. total depravity. Unfortunately, without divine guidance, she was left to believe that selfishness was a virtue.

As God's people, we have the power and obligation to overcome selfish motives. Our focus in giving should be to honor and to glorify God. Giving for any other purpose is condemned by Jesus as hypocrisy.

"Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." Of course, our hands can not think or know anything. Jesus' intention here may have been to make us understand that we should not spend much time thinking about what we have given. We have a tendency to pat ourselves on the back for our own generosity, in which case pride is given a fertile garden in which to grow. This is just another form of hypocrisy.

Secrecy helps us to maintain the right attitude about giving. It protects us from developing selfish motives and brings us into worship with a complete trust in God. We trust Him to see that our generosity will not result in shortages for ourselves or our families; we trust Him to recognize us for our deeds; and we trust Him for any rewards that should be due to us. His promise is that we will be openly rewarded in that day when there will be no more secrets.

Before The Throne:

Use your prayer time today to ask God to help you deal with your true hidden motives for giving. Pray that the Spirit would search your heart and root out anything that is unpure. If you are one who does not give very much to your church and to those in need, ask God to create a generous heart in you. Thank Him and praise Him for all the blessings that you have to share with others.

For Further Study:

** heed. Matt 16:6; Mark 8:15; Luke 11:35; Luke 12:1, 15; Heb 2:1; ** alms. or, righteousness. Deut 24:13; Ps 112:9; Dan 4:27; 2Cor 9:9-10; ** to be. Matt 5:16; Matt 23:5, 14, 28-30; 2Kgs 10:16, 31; Ezek 33:31; Zech 7:5; Zech 13:4; Luke 16:15; John 5:44; John 12:43; Gal 6:12' ** otherwise. Matt 5:46; Matt 10:41-42; Matt 16:27; Matt 25:40; 1Cor 9:17-18; Heb 6:10; Heb 11:26; 2Jo 1:8; ** of your. or, with your. Matt 5:48;

(v.2) ** when. Job 31:16-20; Ps 37:21; Ps 112:9; Prov 19:17; Eccl 11:2; Isa 58:7, 10-12; Luke 11:41; Luke 12:33; John 13:29; Acts 9:36; Acts 10:2, 4, 31; Acts 11:29; Acts 24:17; Rom 12:8; 2Cor 9:6-15; Gal 2:10; Eph 4:28; 1Tim 6:18; Phlm 1:7; Heb 13:16; Jas 2:15-16; 1Pet 4:11; 1John 3:17-19; ** do not sound a trumpet. or, cause not a trumpet to be sounded. Prov 20:6; Hos 8:1; ** as. Matt 7:5; Matt 15:7; Matt 16:3; Matt 22:18; Matt 23:13-29; Matt 24:51; Isa 9:17; Isa 10:6; Mark 7:6; Luke 6:42; Luke 12:56; Luke 13:15; ** in the synagogues. Matt 23:6; Mark 12:39; Luke 11:43; Luke 20:46; ** glory. 1Sam 15:30; John 5:41, 44; John 7:18; 1Thess 2:6; ** verily. Matt 5:18;

(v.3) ** let. Matt 8:4; Matt 9:30; Matt 12:19; Mark 1:44; John 7:4;

(v.4) ** seeth. Ps 17:3; Ps 44:21; Ps 139:1-3, 12; Jer 17:10; Jer 23:24; Heb 4:13; Re 2:23; ** reward. Matt 10:42; Matt 25:34-40; 1Sam 2:30; Luke 8:17; Luke 14:14; 1Cor 4:5; Jude 1:24;


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