By Jenna Walmer
“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. 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. But 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. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” – Week 7: Matthew 6: 1-4
How appropriate. The section for the week is about giving is on the week of ThanksGIVING and Giving Tuesday. In my preacher’s sermon this past Sunday, he emphasized on how being thankful and showing your gratitude to people can affect the homes, workplace, and relationships. During every Thanksgiving season, we are challenged to be more thankful and to spread this attitude. However, this passage challenges us to give as well and presents a way to give with gracious hearts.
Jesus reminds us to “perform” our duties for the Lord and the Lord only, because when doing actions for the wrong reason, the Lord will not reward you. Providing an example, Jesus explains that you should not go boasting your good deeds because that is not righteous. If you do, you are considered just as holy as the “hypocrites”- the people who do good deeds with poor motives. The only prize they receive is their fame.
However, as always, Jesus offers an alternative. When Jesus says, “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,” he is symbolically teaching that it is easy to give with mixed motives; however, you should give with a pure heart and do so that you do not expect to get something in return. Believers are responsible for giving just for the pleasure of giving in return for God’s love.
Do you give because of how you appear to other, or do you give because it makes you feel good?
Before you do another kind gesture, ask yourself, “Would I still do this if nobody found out about it?”
It may be easier to be generous for the eyes of others and recognition, but that does not reflect our God-centered lifestyle. Give to make God look good, not yourself. Give to make others happy, and in return, you will be filled with joy. Give to be glorified by the Lord.
During the holiday season, remember to pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith. Our brothers and sisters are still being mistreated, and they are in dire need of our assistance. Consider giving to the Nigeria Crisis Fund and continue praying for peace in the conflicted areas.
Also, during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, give thanks to all who contribute to your life and give happiness to those in need, in whatever creative way that brings joy to the Lord and to the other people. But just remember to ask yourself, are you doing it for fame or pleasure of giving?
Jenna Walmer is from Lancaster County and is currently in 12th grade. In school, she loves to research historical events. If she were to live in a specific time period, she would want to be a hippie and live in the 60s or 70s. Her favorite past times are swimming and playing her trombone. If you want to know more about her random life, follow her on twitter: @jaymarie2100
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