02 May 2009

notes on giving

Matthew 6:1-4 -- [The World is Not a Stage | The Message]

"Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding. 2-4"When you do something for someone else, don't call attention to yourself. You've seen them in action, I'm sure—'playactors' I call them— treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that's all they get. When you help someone out, don't think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out."

Jesus teaches us that the broadcast of our lives is to be between him and us. There are real repercussions for being generous for the sake of being generous. The result is nothingness. God is not impressed with letting your entire group of friends know how "good" you are because you bought an unemployed buddy a new suit to wear to job interviews. We might be patted on the back by our friends and neighbors, but what good is that? Jesus tells us to help people out quietly.

Make giving an act of worship -- so that when you help someone in need, it is to praise God for making both of you: for him who has needs, and for you who can meet them.


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