For the ninth consecutive year, a gentleman in Pennsylvania anonymously provided Thanksgiving meal preparations to families in need. This year alone, the mystery man helped 150 families, donating approximately 3,000 pounds of turkey and $22,000 worth of groceries. Although this gentleman may not be a follower of Christ, his anonymous giving was certainly reminiscent of what Jesus taught us to do.
Indeed, Christ plainly stated “Be sure that you not do your charitable deeds before men to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 6:1). While there’s nothing wrong with doing good deeds publicly, it’s easy to fall into the trap of doing good things just to get noticed by other people. In other words, it’s tempting to do good deeds for the wrong reasons. Well, when we do things to receive credit from others, we won’t receive a reward from God. I mean, in those instances we’re not even trying to please Him. For example, Jesus explained that when we do charitable things, we shouldn’t “sound a trumpet” like “the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men” (Matthew 6:2).
The Christian attitude toward giving is simple. We should freely give ourselves in service to others, demonstrating both the love and power of Jesus, because we have freely received salvation, healing, prosperity and blessing in Him (Matthew 10:8). Our giving should come without restrictions or strings attached. In fact, Jesus commanded us to love our enemies and even lend to them, “hoping for nothing in return” (Luke 6:35). He promised us that in doing so, our reward would be substantial (Luke 6:35). I know, rewards don’t sound spiritual, but God is really into rewards so they must be spiritual. Clearly, if we don’t receive accolades or repayment in this world, the Lord will repay us. This is why Jesus told us to keep our charitable deeds as anonymous as possible, so that our “Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matthew 6:4).
Incidentally, this doesn’t just apply to giving. When discussing prayer, Jesus noted that people who loved to pray in public have already received their reward, but those who pray privately will be rewarded (Matthew 6:5-6). Again, it’s all about motives. When we pray, our focus should be on the Lord, not on our supposed eloquence or what everyone around us thinks about the prayer. After all, the entire purpose of our existence is about our relationship with God, loving Him with all of our being and serving others because of our love for Him (Mark 12:29-31). We love because He first loved us; we give because He first gave to us.
Jesus said “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21). With this in mind, let’s store up treasure in Heaven by generously sharing the love that we’ve received (Matthew 6:19-21).