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RELIGION: Charitable deeds: To honor God or to honor self?

Weekly Devotion by Randy Moll | November 1, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.

"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. Therefore, when you do your charitable deeds, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do your charitable deeds, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deeds may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly." Matthew 6:1-4

People like to be recognized for their charitable deeds. Though they may not literally sound a trumpet, people and businesses do tend to toot their own horns, so to speak, when they give a gift to the poor or to the community so that all will see their goodness and generosity. They like to be honored before men and have their acts of kindness published abroad for all to note and see.

But what does Jesus say about doing charitable deeds? "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. Therefore, when you do your charitable deeds, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward" (Matt. 6:1-2).

If we do charitable deeds to be seen and recognized by men, that is our only reward. Why? Because deeds done for the glory of God the Father are not motivated by the desire to glorify ourselves. Deeds done for the glory of God are motivated by love for God and the desire to please Him and do His will. They flow from faith in God's mercy and forgiveness, faith in His acceptance of us for the sake of Christ Jesus and His innocent sufferings and death on the cross in our stead.

If we do good to be seen and glorified by men, we have our reward, but it's not from God. If, on the other hand, we seek the glory and praise of God who created us and sent His only-begotten Son to redeem us, our works will be done for Him.

Thus Jesus says, "But when you do your charitable deeds, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deeds may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly" (Matt. 6:3-4).

Christians are not to give to be recognized by others here in this world, but for the glory of God. They do not give to gain a tax deduction or a prominent position in the church or community; they give because they love Him who first loved them and sent His Son to die for them. They do not make a show of their gifts and donations -- not even letting their left hand know what the right is doing -- they do their charitable deeds quietly and often anonymously, seeking no reward from men. But God the Father, who sees and knows all secrets, the Bible says, will reward them openly.

And so, we ask ourselves, "Has our giving been right? Have we given and worked to be seen and recognized by others? Or, have we given and done charitable deeds solely for the glory of God, motivated by love for Him and thankfulness for His grace and mercy toward us in Christ Jesus?"

Dear Father in heaven, forgive us for our self-centeredness and our desire to be seen and recognized for our good works. Forgive our sinful hearts and cleanse us for the sake of Christ Jesus, who loved us and willingly went to the cross to glorify Your name and accomplish our redemption. Fill our hearts with love for You and the desire to glorify Your name in all that we say and do. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

[Scripture is quoted from The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House. Devotion is by Randy Moll. He may be contacted at [email protected] More of Moll's devotional writings reflecting the teaching of the Bible may be freely read at https://goodshepherdonline.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.]

Print Headline: Charitable deeds: To honor God or to honor self?

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