Secret Giving #6 – Not To Us
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!”