Are you a giver? Most likely you are. In fact, most people contribute when certain occasions arise. But, what is our real motivation for gifts? The most favored occasions for gifts are:
- Thank you.
- New baby.
So, what did Jesus say about giving to the needy and where do we fit into that puzzle? In this study, we will dive into Jesus’ teachings from Matthew 6:1-4. These passages emphasize the importance of giving to the needy.
Many famous people, including the character Jed Clampett from the TV show, “The Beverly Hillbillies” quoted;
“There’s no better feeling than the joy that comes from giving.“
Well, these verses from the Bible let us know what Jesus says about giving to the needy — and how we should go about it.
What Did Jesus Really Say about Giving to the Needy?
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.
So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men.
Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” – Matthew 6:1-4 NASB
What motivates us to give?
While reading this passage, a picture popped into my head. It was a picture of two people shaking hands and holding a gigantic check in front of multiple TV cameras. I also imagined a scene of a charity organization giving a generous grant to a small business owner. A crowd of onlookers cheered them on. Have you seen these images?
Motives for Giving
While I am not condemning this act, I know it is usually a corporate affair and part of their advertising campaign. Donating to people in need is a positive thing regardless of who gives, but it still strikes me as announcing with “trumpets”.
Often, people boast about their charitable giving, not just in the corporate world. However, it’s the quiet philanthropists that deserve the most recognition for their selfless acts of kindness. Mother Teresa once said: “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
The truth is, many of the most generous givers are anonymous, donating millions to causes like homelessness and education. They receive little credit for their efforts.
A True Spirit of Giving
Making a contribution in secret, as Jesus suggested, reminds me of another word, integrity. It is said that integrity is what you do when no one is watching. As Kahlil Gibran once said:
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
Although I am pretty sure our motives are not selfish, we should perform our good deeds quietly or in secret, without thinking of reward. We should do it with compassion and love as Jesus taught us. This way, our acts of kindness will make the world a better place, and help us to be an example to a world who needs Christ.
We should check our motives in three areas, according to Jesus:
- and fasting
Those acts should not be self-centered, done not to make us look good but to make God look good.
For instance, if we fast and then brag about how many days we went without then we have missed the whole point of fasting to begin with. The only reason we should fast is to bring us closer to God.
What is Our Benefit when We Give as Jesus Taught?
The reward God promises in verse four is not material, and it is never given to those who seek it. Doing something only for ourselves is not a loving sacrifice. For instance, if a person gives money to charity only for a tax break, God’s reward is lost.
With your next charitable deed ask this question; ‘Would I still do this even if no one ever knew I did it?
Then ask yourself, “What did Jesus say about giving to the needy?” This will give you the true answer. Making a difference in the world shouldn’t be about receiving recognition. Instead, it should be about living out our values and making an impact on those around us.
Love in Christ
If you would like to know more about how to receive the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to see John 3:16 .