Written on 12/01/16, posted on 12/02/16
It’s the first of December. When my church began this book of devotions thirty-seven days ago, December seemed so far away. But now, it has come, and we are three days away from the commitment Sunday for our capital campaign. This has been a journey where God has looked into my heart, and today’s devotion (Being a Humble Giver) is no exception.
The Scripture that it’s based on is familiar to all of us. Matthew 6:1, 3-4 says, “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven….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.”
I understand what this says and some of the ways this can be applied in today’s society. If you are giving to someone in need, giving anonymously reflects what this Scripture is telling us to do. The giving shouldn’t be to our glory. It should be to God’s glory. People who are serving in the backgrounds of our churches can also have an easier time with this. Since a lot of what they do isn’t noticed, it’s almost as if it’s anonymous anyway.
What I’ve wondered though is how the people who serve in front of our churches handle giving the glory to God instead of wanting it for themselves. It would feel natural, I would think, to expect praise for whatever was said or done especially since it really wasn’t done in secret.
Now that I say that, I realize there’s another part of those verses I don’t understand–the part about keeping things secret. I don’t think it entirely means what we, in present day society, think it means. There are ways we give and serve in our churches that are seen by other people. How can we avoid recognition during those times and give the glory back to God?
This question should be asked by all of us though because we all want praise and glory for the things we do. The author of today’s devotion correctly places the reason for this “to our sinful human nature.” God doesn’t want that for us. He wants our hearts to be right with Him when we give so we can direct the praise to where it belongs. We do this through prayer and Bible study; in other words, by keeping our hearts focused on Him.
My understanding has grown during this season of studying and praying about giving. Wounds from my past have been opened, and God has used this time to tell me that what I had learned about giving previously was wrong. I should have never known what people at previous churches were giving, and I shouldn’t have been persecuted for the amount of money I gave. And that is where the secret part comes in, I think. If someone has no business knowing what I’m giving in money, time, or talents, I shouldn’t tell them, and if I receive praise for something I’ve done in public, I should direct it to where it belongs–my Lord and Savior.
To end this post, I’m going to quote the author of the devotion because I think her prayer is worthy of reading as we seek to know how God wants us to give.
“Heavenly Father, forgive me for my selfish tendencies. Help me to look to You as the ultimate example of how to give, because You gave up your only son to die for my sins. Thank you for your provision in my life, and help me to give of that provision without seeking praise. May you be glorified in all things.”
God’s blessings on all of you today!