GIVING LIKE JESUS
Or would you like to give like Jesus? Oprah and other celebrities have multi-million dollar corporate sponsors to use the events for advertising. I don’t think you will see them give away their widow’s mite.
Jesus de-celebritized to perform the world’s epic giveaway. He entered the world stage not as an actor, but as a humble servant. He laid down the wealth of Heaven and his own life on a cross. Instead of accolades, he received beatings. He died in dishonor.
Here’s what He had to say about giving to the poor.
1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Here’s the thing—giving to the poor is a godly activity. The Old Testament gave lots of encouragement to take care of people. God imagines a world where people see what others need and go out of their way to fix it.
The trip wire is this—it feels really good. Others who see your generosity are likely to give great admiration and respect in your direction. You must be some kind of saint!
Jesus felt the heroics when a miracle or healing would take place from his hands. He watched the numbers grow in the crowd and the positive attention given to Him. He remembered the wilderness temptation when the Devil offered Him the world at his feet.
But, the fear of getting sidetracked was quelled by impetus of love. The generosity of Heaven was expressed through Jesus daily, with or without a pat on the back. When you are filled with the awareness of God’s love, you can give and care extravagantly.
You do not need a camera, Facebook or the world press to be at your giveaway. But Pharisees and attention seekers need to get published. From what Jesus describes, it was customary for religious philanthropists to blow a shofar to gather the poor to receive their gifts. Of course, other religious people and public figures would also be made aware of the acts of generosity in this way and would certainly take note of their brother’s generous integrity and concern.
Before we use the text to find fault with show-offs, we need to consider what Jesus is really getting at. He is encouraging people to be very generous, but in quiet fashion. It should be a secret when you do something extravagant to help others. You do not need to get the award or be thought of more highly for acts of kindness.
Jesus invites us to become Secret Santas. Maybe you’ve played that gift exchange where you draw a name for which you will secretly buy a gift. Jesus calls us to give in secretive ways, with only God as your witness. Have you thought about that much? You have so much to give to this world and God wants to sneak around with you unloading your treasure.
How does God reward us? Well, it’s a secret. Become a Secret Santa and you will find out. Quiet giving is loud in God’s ears.