Matthew 6:1-4 GIVING TO THE NEEDY
Jesus (on the Sermon of the Mount) continues his theme of teaching us to see the intent of the commandments. What is in my heart when I give to the needy or do something for someone else? Am I doing it so that someone else might see and give me praise so I feel good? No one else needs to see other than God. To do something to receive recognition from someone else is hypocritical. Hey self, what's your motive!
Scripture says I am not even to let one hand know what the other hand is doing. Giving should be in secret, even from myself. My good acts should be out of compassion and love, not for appearances. Sometimes I feel as if I am the victim of this kind of giving in that I know someone does something for me just to tell someone else to make themselves look good. This makes the act seem meaningless, untrue, and worthless. I would never want someone else to feel that way about something good that I do for them. Are my prayers (Mat 6:6), fasting (Mat 6;18), and generosity (Mat 6:4) ever self-centered motivated or are they to make God look good? I should do a self-check every time I give, "Would I still do this if no one was going to know?" It is okay to feel good when I give, but that should be where the "feel good" ends. I should not expect anything in return, not even recognition. I know that I have had some people who were not good "receivers" and would always try to rob me of the joy of giving by giving back.
It is okay for good acts to be seen by others, but the motivation behind it should be that God gets the credit, not me: "Matthew 5:16, In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." Let's project Jesus!