SOAP Devotional 2016-08-30
Scripture – Observation – Application – Prayer
“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. 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. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” -Matthew 6:1-4 NLT
It should first be noted what the Lord is not saying. He is not condemning giving publicly. He speaks specifically about the intent of the giver. We see the early church gathering funds and announcing the gathering of those funds very publicly to help the persecuted believers in Jerusalem without doing anything wrong. In referring to us as individuals not letting our left hand know what our right hand is doing, He is not insinuating that we can do things without knowing it. He refers to how we should not sit there and dwell on what we have done either. So what is He saying? 1) Don't give just so others will praise you for giving because if you do, that praise from them is all the reward for your giving you will ever get. 2) Don't personally dwell on how good you did with your giving. That is a way of rewarding yourself. 3) God Himself will reward you for your giving when you do it with the right intentions and the right attitudes.
We can continue to raise funds to help those who need help, but my personal giving will remain between me and God. I will continue to give, but I will do my giving without dwelling on what I have done or expecting rewards. On the other hand, I will not condemn those who may at times give in a very public way, if that gift is to inspire others to give rather than to exalt themselves. I realize that this passage is about the intent and the attitude of the heart of the giver rather than the method of the giver.
Father help me to always have the right kind of attitude in my giving. Let my heart never seek the praise of others, but rather to please you and to love others.