I promise I did not make this up, but yes, there really is a wrong way to give. Whether you are giving your tithes and offering in church, donating clothes to the local homeless shelter, or dropping off food at the city food pantry, it should all be done discreetly and with a pure heart. What exactly does that mean? This brings us to our key text coming out of Matthew 6:1 — 4 (KJV). The word of the Lord reads:
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 thous 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.
Here, Jesus is addressing a multitude and teaching them that all giving is not the same. First, when one is giving, one should be doing so for the sake of helping others and obedience to God — not for the sake of being seen. If you are flamboyantly writing checks amid the church pews on Sunday morning when you could have made the check out at home or donating department-store amounts of clothing to your favorite charity just so you can brag about it to your friends, you are demonstrating examples of the wrong way to give. Jesus instructs us that the proper giving is done in private, or perhaps better stated, without drawing attention to oneself. If God blessed you with a big check to put in church, go ahead! Just don’t parade it in front of everyone. Simply drop it into the offering tray, and continue praising the Lord. If you feel moved to give away tons of new clothes to those less fortunate, knock yourself out! There’s just no need to gush about it to everyone you meet for the next two weeks. The word of God says you can choose to do so but at the expense of losing out on your reward from Him. Otherwise, your only reward will be praises from man. I don’t know about you, but I know I’d rather have a divine reward from God than just a pat on the back from some stranger I don’t even know. Just some food for thought, my friends.
Have a blessed day!
Ayvaunn Penn is an award-winning writer and the author of Ephemeral Moments, a book of poetry and short stories from the Christian perspective, available on Amazon.com in the fall of 2013. She is also the founder of Your Black Poets. To receive Ayvaunn’s daily Bible devotionals by email, click here. Click to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.