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Giving in Secret




(Matthew 6:2-4 NIV)  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 men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.  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. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.


(2 Corinthians 8:1-5 NIV)  And now, brothers, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.  Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.  For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints.  And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God's will.


(Ephesians 4:28 NIV)  He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.


(2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV)  Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.



Nothing tests the human motive more than giving.  Sayings like "put your money where your is" and  "money talks" exemplify our tendencies to be most truthful and careful when it comes to investing a significant portion of our earnings, hence, ourselves.


As people, our investments are mostly influenced by our desire to belong and to be accepted.  How we look and sound like to our peers becomes our way of life and eventually, our way to death.  In this chapter, Jesus focuses us on the right motivation for giving (almsgiving, benevolence, contribution, gifts, etc.).  He teaches us to give because it is right and because we want to please the Lord.  God is very giving--it is in His nature to provide, serve and give.  If we are His children, then we will imitate God in this manner and not live to serve ourselves or to be a people-pleaser.  Those who seek the praises of men, compliments of men or acceptance of men, who like to show off and attempt to prove themselves over and over to people, are misdirected and in a sense, giving under the compulsion of people-pleasing.


Jesus gave His very self to us at every moment of His life on Earth.  He continually gives us His grace and His Spirit to us till the very end of the age.  God has never confined His giving to us to events and one-time scenarios--He continually gives!  What an example to us, who tend to confine giving to certain events, places or people.  God doesn't want you to give, He wants you to be giving.  Giving is an expression of your righteousness.


(2 Corinthians 9:8-12 NIV)  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.  As it is written: "He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."  Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.  You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.  This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.


A giving person continually testifies His citizenship in Heaven and his loyalty to Jesus.  A giving person is walking In His Footsteps…



In His Footsteps © 1998           



Giving in Secret





Let’s start examining what true giving is by listening to Jesus’ definition of loving your neighbor in Luke 10:30-37.  Why was the story of the Good Samaritan told?  Can we look upon this story to also learn about giving?  Does loving involve giving?  When we love, what do we give (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)?  How did the priest love?  How did the Levite love?  How did the Samaritan love?  Who was giving?  Why?  Did anyone act upon compulsion?  Who acted out of righteousness?  Was the Samaritan concerned about what other people thought?  Did he run to tell others what he had done?  Do you usually help people you see on the side of the road that appear to be in trouble?  After helping them, did you feel like you couldn’t wait to tell someone what you did?  Did you eventually tell anyone?  Why didn’t you keep it a secret between you and God?



Now let’s look at the Christians in Acts 2:42-47.  List the different things they did that expressed their gratitude to God.  If you would’ve been in their midst, would your mind be refocused on God and cause you to praise God?  Would you have thought that these people were selfish?  Why not?  Now examine yourself and see if you belong to this group of people.  Have you let God’s Spirit renew you to have this attitude about your things?  Do you consider all that you have yours?  How are you with sharing? Giving?  Have you sold anything to help those in need?  Have you given anything to someone in need?  If you hoard your things and withhold from those in need, would you have a glad and sincere heart when fellowshipping and breaking bread with the brethren? 



Let’s look at another scenario from the early Christians in Acts 4:32-5:11.  What was their attitude concerning anything God had given them?  Was there any needy person among them?  Why?  What was being sold?  Were these things done because they were told to do so or were they willingly giving their things away?  Would you say these people were putting their faith to the test and glorifying God?  What happened to Ananias and Sapphira though?  Was it wrong to keep some money for yourself if you sold something?  What was their lie (verse 8)?  Can you guess what Ananias and Sapphira’s motive was?   Follow closely a brother named Joseph, the Levite from Cyprus, in these passages: Acts 4:36, 37; who did he introduce to the church? (Acts 9:26-27); who did he closely work with? (Acts 11:19-30)  Would you say this brother was a very giving man?  How did he show gratitude towards God and love for the brethren?



Read John 12:1-8.  Why was Mary’s display of affection criticized by Judas?  How did Mary give of herself in this incident?  Was this an expression of gratitude towards Jesus?  Couldn’t she have used something a little less expensive for this?  Wouldn’t her love for Jesus still be clear if she used a cheaper perfume, perhaps?  Wasn’t Judas thinking like this?  What was Jesus’ justification for Mary’s actions?  Did He think enough of her to include her account for all people to hear about (Mark 14:6-9)?



Cautiously read the follow accounts and ask yourself these questions in each case.  How were these people giving?  Were there any people with evil intentions lurking in each account?  What were these intentions?  How did the giving people respond to selfish people?  How was God glorified through the actions of the people who selflessly gave of themselves?  Describe what each of them gave and to whom they gave: The Magi from the East (Matthew 2:1-12), the widow’s mite (Luke 21:1-4), Ruth (Ruth 1:1-18), Esther (Esther 4:1-8:16), and the Macedonian churches (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).


But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing… Matthew 6:3


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