Matthew 6:1-3 (New Living Translation)1“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. 2 When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. 3 But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.
Because of the tragedy currently going on in Haiti, there has been alot of focus on giving. Every known relief organization is involved and many countries are adding to their effort. In our own country, we have involved many aspects of our government incuding the military, and in the private sector many people are contributing as well. It is fantastic that so much attention has been placed on the plight of these people, but long after the TV cameras leave, and the relief workers head for their homes, the need for giving to the people of Haiti will still remain.
The verse above may seem a little unusual as a foundation of a devotional about giving, but it is apporpriate when you understand the context of it. Jesus spoke these words as part of the Sermon on the Mount, as he was teaching on many important aspects of spiritual living. Many times people give to receive some sort of recognition from others, or to help them feel good about themselves, but what Jesus was emphasizing was the heart of the giver and the attitude behind the gift.
Once you have had your life changed by the power of the Spirit of God, your desire to give originates from a heart of compassion. You are willing to help others without the thought of any benefit that you might receive. It becomes part of your "spiritual DNA". Jesus encourages us to give in complete anonymity, where we " don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing". This is true Next Worth living, where what we do for others is reflected in what we will gain for eternity. Not that our "good deeds" are just for spiritual gain, but they are done in thanksgiving as a result of what has been done for us already in the gift of Jesus's sacrifice on our behalf. When Jesus tells us about rewards that we will receive, it is to give us assurance that what we do in this world has eternal value.
The true givers in places like Haiti, in the desperate areas around the world, and in the lives of the unfortunate around us, are those that continue to give of themselves in countless ways each and every day. They are in the shadows and are rarely seen by anyone but their Father in Heaven, but their efforts feed the hungry, build the shelters and lift the spirits of their fellow man.
My encouragement today is for all of you to get involved in helping the people of Haiti, but do not forget that right giving is a matter of the heart. Once your heart is right with your Father in Heaven, then you can freely give in service to those around you.