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. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. -Matthew 6:3-4 (NIV)
When you give to the needy, do you do it publicly, so others will see your generosity and big heart? Do you do it grudgingly? Do you do it with joy, or with a sour spirit?
There was a time, before I was saved, that I was approached by a homeless man for food. I agreed to get him a meal at a local fast food restaurant, and I remember getting annoyed that he wanted a more expensive meal than I intended to give him. Beggars can’t be choosers, right? I ended up getting him the meal he asked for, then I groused about it for some time afterward.
Oh, what a terrible way to go about it. Where’s the heart and love in giving like that?
And I still remember that, by taking longer to order food because I was too busy disagreeing with the man over what I would give him, it took a lot longer than necessary. That wasted time drew attention to the giving that was taking place.
Throughout most of chapter six in the Book of Matthew, Jesus talks about how to give and live. The first three parts of that chapter are his teachings on giving, prayer, and fasting…and for all three, he says to not make public shows of them, but to do them in secret.
After being saved, giving is a very different thing. Now, it’s a joy to give, and if I could talk to my past self, who would worry that I was giving away too much, I would tell him what Jesus said later in the same chapter:
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. -Matthew 6:31-34
In other words, God’s got your back! When you give and worry how you’ll make it if you give, you’re not trusting that the Lord has got you covered. He sees all, and see what you’re doing, and knows your needs.
So, fellow agent, go out into the world and see giving opportunities, because they are just that: opportunities! They are no longer “oh, great, the homeless guy is coming this way” moments.
And when you do that, you reflect His light. We are agents of light, are we not?
“Live Like That” by Sidewalk Prophets is believers’ desires to be Jesus to the least of us, set to music: