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Jesus says: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”
Earlier Jesus says that you are to let your light shine in such a way so that the world may see your good works and glorify your Father Who is in heaven. Here Jesus warns of practicing your righteousnesses before men to be noticed by them. So, what is the difference between “good works” and “practicing righteousness?” “Good works” seem to be your lifestyle—allowing your light to be seen. “Practicing righteousness” seems to be actions that are only to be between you and God. He illustrates these righteous acts with giving, praying and fasting. NOTE that if your motive is to practice these acts in order to be seen, then you will not receive any reward from your Father.
“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6)
The scribes and Pharisees practiced their giving in order to be noticed by men. When they went to the Temple, they gave their coins into receptacles called “trumpets”. You can imagine how much noise they could make with the coins to “trumpet” attention to themselves for others to see how holy they were in their giving. It was a show to seek honor from men. Jesus points out that when you give in this manner, the applause and honor you stir up from those who are impressed by your giving will be the only reward you will get for that act of giving. You should have taped it, because that’s all there is!
Jesus then offers his advice on giving: 1-As much as is possible do your giving in secret. 2-Your secret giving will be noticed by the only One that matters-God, Himself. 3-Giving in secret will bring about a special reward from God. It’s the principle of private focus at play. We’ll see more later.
Listen to the spirit of Jesus nudging at your heart. What are you hearing regarding your giving? Where can you give in secret in a special partnership with God? Now, give and hush up!