Matthew 6: 1 - 4

“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.”

Why do we give?  The simple answer is because we can and because there are many people who need our support practically, emotionally and spiritually.  But, there is so much more to giving and over the past few days we have reflected on some aspects of what it means to give to God and each other.  We have considered different types of hunger and how we might open our eyes to see the glaring needs around us and how we can help.  We have reflected on what and how we might give.  Today’s reading looks at our motivation in giving.  Why do we give?  Is it because we see a need, or is there much more to it than that?

In this section of Matthew’s Gospel Jesus looks at three very important responses of faith  and to God for the Jews:  giving to the needy, prayer and fasting.  Although the reading today deals with giving which is the focus of this first part of these Lenten studies the same principle applies throughout what Jesus has to say in this immediate section and beyond.  He saw the temptation in some people’s giving to the poor to show off not just what they had to give, but also that they were giving.  It had become for them a public display of their “righteousness” i.e. their right relationship with God and their faith.

When considering Luke 14 earlier on in these studies we looked a different kinds of “givers” and reflected on giving that looks for something in return and giving that doesn’t.  This passage here goes a bit further and a bit deeper by looking at giving that is borne out of a pride that seeks praise and plaudits.  All that we have learned so far is especially brought home to us in this passage and that is we give because we love God and we love each other.  We are motivated by a humble spirit that comes from Christ the Servant King working in and through our lives.

Giving is an integral part of worship.  We give to God in our praise and thanksgiving.  We bring this to life in tangible ways as we see and seek opportunities to bring tour fatih to life.  We give to show, not what we do, but what God can do in and through us.

  • Is giving a tick box exercise for you? Is it something that you feel you have to do or is motivated by a desire to bring to life your love for God and for others?  What does it mean to you for your left hand not knowing what your right hand is doing?

Our God who gave his son and continues to give in and through him,

help us to reflect on the example that he set as he gave in all humility,

not for praise and plaudits, but a desire to change lives for the better.

In his name we pray.