6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 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.
Motives can be such troublesome squirmy things.
If I am generous because I want people to praise my generosity, it’s an expression of my self-focus (not my generosity). If I’m recognised as being generous, my goal has been satisfied. But it’s an empty, worthless goal. Jesus doesn’t say it’s bad – just that it’s shallow.
If I’m generous because I want God to reward me, it’s still an expression of my self-focus, my heart for myself rather than my heart for God. God wants prosperity for his people, but it becomes a trap if I seek prosperity before God.
And I can’t fool God: “People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Generosity is a natural consequence of a heart that seeks God first. “Generous” is a word that is used over and over again to describe God. As my mind and heart become more closely aligned with His, my life inevitably becomes more generous. And as I take on more of His generosity, he gives me more to be generous with, whether it’s money or time or talents or words from Him: gifts for someone else that He allows me to deliver for Him.
“Light shines in the darkness for the godly. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous.” (Psalm 112:4)
Jesus, I want to be a light shining in the darkness today: not in the spotlight, but reflecting you – “the light of the world” (John 9:5)
Written by David Cornell