The Right and Wrong Ways to Give to God

Matthew 6:1–4 tells us that there are a number of ways that our giving to God can be wrong:

  • We can not give at all—or give sporadically, at best—and disobey God, missing many of His special blessings in our lives.
  • We can give, but have the wrong motives.

The wrong way to give

“When you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly I say to you, they have their reward” (Matthew 6:2).

The word reward in this verse means “paid in full and receipted.” In other words, if you give of your money or of your time or do something in such a way as to draw attention to yourself, you are giving with a wrong motive. You have already received your reward, and “you have no reward from your Father in Heaven” (Matthew 6:1).

The right way to give

God wants us to give with the right motive. Jesus explains,

“But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matthew 6:3–4).

In that culture, the right hand was considered the primary hand of action. In a normal day, many things would be done with the right hand that would not involve the left. The idea here is to do our giving quietly, not proclaiming it, announcing it, or bragging about it.

We should also give in secret—no matter what kind of gift it is. Whether you give of your finances, in faithful prayer, or by serving in Sunday school or some unknown region in the mission field, it should be done unpretentiously, with no thought of recognition or appreciation. Then, “your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matthew 6:4).

It comes down to this: if we remember, God will forget; but if we forget, God will remember. We need to leave the bookkeeping to God, realizing that we have only done that which we ought to have done.

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