Creating a Culture of Giving: Matthew 6:1-4

Focus Passage: Matthew 6:1-4 (GW)

“Be careful not to do your good works in public in order to attract attention. If you do, your Father in heaven will not reward you. So when you give to the poor, don’t announce it with trumpet fanfare. This is what hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets in order to be praised by people. I can guarantee this truth: That will be their only reward. When you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your contributions privately. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you.

Read Matthew 6:1-4 in context and/or in other translations on BibleGateway.com!

During Jesus’ famous “Sermon on the Mount”, He describes for us the motivation God wants for us regarding our giving and helping others. It is likely that Jesus shocked many people in the audience when He transitioned to this section of His message.

To help catch the crowd’s attention and get them to take note, Jesus begins by stating, “Be careful not to do your good works in public in order to attract attention. If you do, your Father in heaven will not reward you.” (v. 1)

It is odd to think about God not rewarding someone’s generosity, but that is what Jesus is clearly stating here. If someone does something good because they are trying to build their reputation or strengthen their public image, then whatever it is they are doing is really not to help the other person; they are helping themselves first.

A couple verses later, Jesus emphasizes this idea even further when He states, “When you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” (v. 3)

This mentality becomes tricky because at some point, when we want to help develop a spirit of generosity within a group of people, we should celebrate the giving that has happened. What we celebrate gets strengthened, and when we do things to help those who give feel appreciated, then we are likely to attract more people to give.

But perhaps we should shift our focus away from focusing on who gave, and instead focus on what the gifts that were given accomplished. If we place our focus on sharing how lives were transformed, how marriages were strengthened, and/or how people experienced healing because of the gifts that generous “anonymous” people gave, then we can receive the same benefit as a group of people.

When celebrating life changes vs. celebrating those who donated, the donors can stay anonymous and let God reward them later, and a culture of giving can be inspired as well.

This thought was inspired by studying the Walking With Jesus "Reflective Bible Study" package. To discover insights like this in your own study time, click here and give Reflective Bible Study a try today!

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