Quick Thought – Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Read

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Matthew 6:1-4 (ESV)

Reflect

When I was in middle school, my stepmother offered to pay me to wash her car. I did a great job (if I say so myself) but then got another idea. What if I waxed the car, too? Certainly she’d see how awesome of a job I did, and then would pay me even more. So I did a quick wax job on the car, and then took her outside to show off my handiwork. She said it looked good, but then I bragged about the wax job. “I paid you to wash it. I didn’t agree to the wax,” she said.

“But…” I was a bit shocked.

“No. I’m paying for exactly what we agreed to. The waxing will be your donation.”

I was shocked. I thought I could force her into more by doing more. But she saw straight through my ploy, and shut it down immediately.

That’s kind of the way the Pharisees did things in Jesus’ time. They would go to make their offerings to God at the Temple, just like everyone else. But instead of doing things quietly and in reverence, as was the custom for most Jews, the Pharisees would be as loud and obvious as possible. “See how much we’re giving?” they seemed to say, without using those words. “We must truly be holy if we’re giving this much.”

Their hope was to impress the other Jews, probably so that they would easily keep their religious power. Perhaps they also thought God looked at things that way. But Jesus shut down such notions when He told His followers that there would be no reward in heaven for impressing people through giving. Instead, He told them to keep things as low-key as possible, and that God would notice and provide heavenly rewards.

Giving is definitely important to the Lord. But giving with a thankful heart and in gratitude to God is extremely important. Don’t forget to include God in how you spend your money, but when you do give, remember to do it only because you love Him, and not because you want your gift to gain you anything in return.

Reflection copyright © 2015 Doug DeBolt.

Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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About Doug DeBolt

Capnpen is a writer who was a newspaper and magazine journalist in a previous life. A college journalism major, he now works as an administrator, but gets his writing fix by blogging about a variety of topics, including politics, religion, movies and television. When he's not working or blogging, Capnpen spends time with his family, plays a little golf (badly) and loves to learn about virtually anything.
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