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A Better Reward - Forward with Back to the Bible - November 29

  • 2021 Nov 29

A Better Reward

November 29

Read Matthew 6:1-4 (ESV)

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 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. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Reflect 

When you give, what is the motive of your heart? Are you giving for His glory or yours?

The thought of having a trumpet player follow us around, blasting a public service announcement, as we bestow charity upon the needy seems absurd to us. But really, we see it everywhere these days. Companies and celebrities advertise about how they are “giving back” to their communities. People post their charitable donations on social media. It is certainly good to be generous! But many people are doing the right things for the wrong reasons.

In today’s verses, Jesus warned against this practice. He had strong words for people who give to the needy in order to impress others. He called them hypocrites. The warning was that hypocrites would not receive a reward for their giving from the Father. Hypocrites are seeking the praise of men, not God. And Jesus said, “they have received their reward.” In other words, if they want the praise of men, that’s what they’ll get. But the Father in heaven will not reward hypocrisy.

Once again, we see Jesus emphasizing our hearts over our actions. Motives matter. Jesus encouraged generosity many times in Scripture. In fact, the Bible says that when we give to the poor, it is like giving directly to God Himself.

Proverbs 19:17 says, “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.”

In Matthew 25:35-40 Jesus said, “‘For I was hungry and you gave me food I was thirty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” When we care for others for the right reasons, it is rendered as a gift to the Lord.

But the Bible is also very clear about who should get the credit for our good works. Jesus said, “...let your light shine before others so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Notice that God’s name should be glorified, not our own. Our giving should be done privately and without fanfare so that no one can question the motives of our hearts.

The reward given by our Father in heaven will be an infinitely better reward than the approval of men! The reward of men is temporary, fickle, and useless. People who give out of obedience to the Lord and to glorify Him give in secret and instead look forward to a heavenly reward from our Father that never perishes.

Friends, God sees what is done in secret and He’s the One that matters. So be a generous giver. Bless others in Jesus’ name. But check the motives of your heart. Lay low. Don’t draw attention to your own generosity. Let God get the credit and wait for the better reward!

Pray

Father, I confess that I haven’t always had the right motives but I am now trying to please You and not men. Help me to give to others in secret for Your glory and not my own. Thank You for providing me the blessings that I have so that I can bless others. Amen. 

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