Devotions

Secret Giving #6 – Not To Us

Secret Giving #6 – Not To Us
Matt Hatton

In my high school years, I was able to take some great acting classes! I was never one to want to be on stage in front of people for the main role in the school play, but I did enjoy goofing around and making jokes amongst my acting and improvisation classmates. One of the enjoyable things about theater is that you can say things you normally would not and act to be someone or something different while you are on stage. There are not many other reasons to participate in a theatrical performance than to receive a response from the crowd. Maybe that response is a laugh, tears, oohs, and aahs, an applause, or even a shout!

Words like “actor” or “theater” are not really used in the Bible, at least in the ways that we see them. Jesus uses a word that looks different from these; however, when looking at the root definitions, these words are synonymous with one another. The word that Jesus uses to define someone who pretends and acts like someone else in a disingenuous way for the response of a crowd is the word hypocrite.

In Matthew 6:1-4 Jesus uses this word when talking about our worship through giving: “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.’”

Jesus continues on this topic of hypocrisy when it comes to prayer and fasting as well. Often our worship is done with the same aim of most everything else in our lives, which is the aim of showing other people how great we are. We put on a show in all areas of our lives! At work, school, home, and even among the church we pretend to be someone that we are not for the approval of other people. The problem is that when we seek glory from other people, we are actually stealing the glory that belongs to King Jesus.   

The only ones who see what we do outwardly are other people. God looks at the heart. He does not notice how much money is placed in the bucket; He looks at the purpose behind it! He does not care how many zeroes are added; He cares about the joyfulness in our souls! God does not look at the dollar amount; He looks at what you have sacrificed! When we give financially this week, when we pray, when we fast, when we serve, and when we lift our hands and voices in song, let it be done out of a heart that is seeking above all else to bring glory to God!

Psalm 115:1 sums it all up for us, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!”

Secret Giving #5 – Recognition

Secret Giving #5 – Recognition
Mark O’Connor | Student Director

We are a boastful lot. Our culture today screams “Look and me and what I have done!”  There is a time and a place for such recognition, but it should not be connected to our relationship with Jesus. Proverbs 27:2 says, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.”

Our faith is a quiet one where our actions should speak more than our mouth. We should be seeking only the approval of God, rather than our fellow man. Tithing can be a tough topic. Some of us really do not like to talk about our money, but others most definitely do. I recall my days as a young Christian, questioning why, as a young parent not having much income, why I needed to give. As I grew in my relationship with Jesus, I began to notice that God was seeking my faithfulness. I was doing things that looked good to the onlooker, but in my private walk, I was not honoring God. Verses like 1 Corinthians 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God,” began to work in my heart. Therefore, realizing that pleasing God was to be a priority in my life, I needed to give. However, I also learned not to be boastful in my walk. I did not have much to give, and I quickly became thankful and learned why God had set up the system the way He did.

Giving shows God and us where our heart is. Jesus explained to the disciples in Mark 12:41-44 that the poor woman who gave two copper coins had given more than the rich since it was all she had to live on. She did not make a big scene.  She quietly became a blessing to God.

I am thankful that I have a God who will not judge me based on the quantity that I give but rather the faith that I have in Him. Do not be proud or boastful about what you can give, or feel bad about what you cannot give. Just give humbly and consistently knowing that you are doing what is pleasing to God and He will bless you for your faithfulness.

Secret Giving #4 – Did you see that?

Secret Giving #4 – Did you see that?
John Hubbard | Worship Leader


Whether it was recess as a young boy or with a group of friends a couple of weeks ago, picking teams has always brought on the same feeling. It does not matter what game, dodgeball to basketball, horseshoes to Scrabble. There is that moment when everyone looks around and paints their own set of numbers and ranks on each player. Everyone thinks back to what applicable skills he or she has seen out of each person while warming up. If you had the foresight to know this standoff was coming, you made sure to show some of your best skills so that you could end up on the best team, or at least keep yourself from being last picked.

As useful as getting yourself noticed might be when it comes to playful competition, we tend to believe that it is a universal truth that it can work for everything. In reality, we see hardly any difference between being a “go-getter” and showing off when it is about getting noticed by the boss. When it is about getting noticed or not noticed, we would often rather take the recognition. At the same time, we also know the difference it will make between slipping a check in the offering bucket for kids to go to camp written in the memo instead of walking over to the children’s room and going full Oprah on the kids’ stage, “and YOU get to go to camp, and YOU get to go to camp!” Man, what an impact that would have, they would love it. The kids would love me.


Matthew 6:1
“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.” 


As great of an impact as you would make, if you try to make it all yourself, it pales in comparison to the impact God can make. You might feel satisfied with your impact, and sure, kids will get to go to camp and be forever changed by the Gospel either way, but you will take God’s reward away from yourself, you will not get to say, “but hey God, I did that great thing back there, remember?” As a Children’s Director, it feels weird to use that as an example; I would love to have kids get sent to camp and I do not want to discourage you from giving at all. If you seek a reward from me I can tell you I will do my best to reward you, but I do not want you to be confused about which reward is greater, surely no man’s praise can stand up to the reward that comes from Heaven.

Matthew 6:3-4
“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.”  

Secret Giving #3 – Look at Me

Secret Giving #3 – Look at Me
Ryan Story | Student Pastor

Teenagers on Twitter can sometimes be wise sages. Now, most of the time social media is wasted time, wasted energy, and brings about more drama than what it is worth. Some of the time, though, we see insight into a person’s life. Now I know there is always more to a tweet or a post than what one lets on, but a few days ago a teenager who attends a high school Growth Community tweeted, “I hate when people cannot just do nice things without having to let everyone know.”  Now I am not sure what the story linked to this tweet is. I am not sure if this was a passive sub-Tweet that was meant to call someone out. I just am not sure of the context. However, this teen is speaking wisdom way beyond her years.

The greatest sermon ever preached was Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Spend any amount of time in Matthew chapter 5 through chapter 7 and your walk with God will be changed. In the middle of this sermon, Matthew 6, Jesus tells the people, “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.” Now take the time to read that again, and hopefully, you feel the weight and authority of how Jesus is telling us we must give. Jesus is trying to teach us that when we give, we must do it so no one knows. We must give so secretly that our own hands do not hold a record of what we have done.

There are times I think of how many “rewards” I have missed out in my private time with God, just because I have been generous to gain the approval of other people. To think that even though I gave, I can be giving with wrong motives. I was doing it more to seek the approval of man than to seek the approval of my Lord is silly when you think about it. Let us all start being the followers of Christ that we should be. Let us all seek out wanting to be recognized by Jesus more than the person sitting next to us at a gathering. Let us all try to become people who “do nice things” and expect only the reward that Jesus gives us.

Secret Giving #2 – Facebook Trumpets

Secret Giving #2 – Facebook Trumpets
Phil Piasecki | Worship Leader

When we see the Pharisees in Scripture, we find a great example of how not to behave as Christians. In Matthew 23, Jesus explains to the people that they should not follow the example the Pharisees set. In verse 5, Jesus explains that they do all their deeds to be seen by others. Everything that they did revolved around earthly praise and recognition and for this, Jesus condemns them. We all know it is human nature to want recognition for the good things that we do. However, Jesus commands us only to be concerned about eternal recognition.

Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”

Matthew 6:1-4 adds, “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.”

Both of these Scriptures very clearly show that our righteous deeds need to be done for the Lord and not for men. When we fall into the trap of doing righteous things for the recognition of men, Jesus tells us that we lose our reward. Understandably, sometimes it is impossible to do something good without having people recognize it and honor it. God uses the praise and thanks of other believers to encourage us to continue doing the things of the Lord, and God also knows the condition of our heart. We see in Matthew 6:1-4 that Scripture encourages the idea of secret giving. This way we know that our intentions are completely pure. People were giving to the needy and sounding a trumpet to make sure everyone would recognize the “good” that they did. We may not sound trumpets in the synagogues, but many of us are quick to post to social media the “good” that we have done. Charity and giving are such an important things; it is one way that we get to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ. When we do these things, let us strive to do it with the least recognition possible. If you feel like you are constantly doing good without any worldly recognition, be encouraged by that! Understand that God sees you, and you will have your reward one day in Paradise.



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