Daily D – Matthew 6:1
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no heard with your Father in heaven.
MATTHEW 6:1 (CSB)
“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.” (The Message)
There are two sides to a coin. Jesus here makes it pretty plain that one side of the coin is that we are not to practice our righteousness or charitable giving in such a manner that our real motive is not solving problems but seeking recognition. Do not give to impress. Give to serve.
The other side of the coin is found in 1 Chronicles 28 and 29. King David set up his son Solomon for success in part by giving everything he had to build the temple once he passed away and Solomon was in charge. Every dollar David had in reserve had a name and an assignment. There was nothing for anyone to argue about after he was gone. He made sure to bless the kingdom from beyond the grave.
How will you give to build God’s kingdom from beyond the grave? How have you assigned what wealth you have to honor God and to bless others? How will you do it so that people talk about how good God is rather than how good you are?
What is appropriate disclosure regarding how you give? A church I served along the way was building a new worship center. The financial campaign guys we hired said it was important for the church to know how much my wife and I were sacrificing toward our financial goal.
The question in my heart and mind was whether to tell the dollar figure or the percentage we were giving above and beyond our regular tithe. We settled on telling the percentage. Inevitably, one guy proclaimed, “That’s not that much.” I guess we met the challenge of Matthew 6:1 for that guy. He was not impressed.
It was tempting to explain to him and others the rest of the story. He did not see what we were already giving before that additional commitment. He did not know our family’s financial situation. I could go on. We knew all of those details. We knew the sacrifice we were making was indeed a real sacrifice. We were much less concerned with what he thought than in what God knew.
Live and give generously. Give what you have under God’s leadership. Give obediently. Give lovingly. Do not try to impress people. Honor God and serve others through giving wisely, systematically, strategically, and as anonymously as possible.
I will give generously and as anonymously as possible.
Our Father, everything we have came from your hand. Nothing is ultimately ours. Teach us to live generously. Show us how to invest in others appropriately. Give us the satisfaction of honoring you without the complication of acclaim by others. Amen.
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Psalm 147:10, 11 He is not impressed by the strength of a horse; he does not value the power of a warrior. The LORD values those who fear him, those who put their hope in his faithful love.
Matthew 6:25, 33 “Therefore I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? . . . But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. (CSB)
Proverbs 17:27, 28 The one who has knowledge restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a person of understanding. Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent — discerning, when he seals his lips. (CSB)