Jesus was all about love. Love yourself, love your neighbor, take care of widows and orphans. And just like with every edict God gave, people took it to the extreme.
In the temple, metal bell-like receptacles were set up to receive the alms and offerings used to support the temple and help the poor. The larger the coin or amount of coins, the greater the sound of the offering. Many who were wealthy or just religious gave noisily, sometimes dropping one coin after another to make the noise last longer.
It was all about them.
Jesus told them to not let their left hand know what their right was doing. That doesn’t make sense to our minds as we try to reconcile that the mind that made the decision to give guides both hands. What Jesus was saying was to keep your giving secret.
No advertisement. No clanging bells. No applause. No reward. We who give should do so simply because it’s the right thing to do according to God, not for some t-shirt or widget given.
My grandson has taught me about this as he has gathered cases of water to give to a homeless ministry. He doesn’t want publicity or applause for himself and while we used to let the television stations know to get interviews beforehand, “just to get more people involved,” we don’t do that now. No clanging. We take pictures and video on the day of water pickup and delivery, simply to allow donors to see their efforts being carried out. Okay, yes, this grandmother brags on her grandson, too. But the SPIRIT is not to say “Look how amazing this guy is!” It’s always to say, “Look what God is doing though this guy!”
In the United States, we’ve built bell-shaped offertories, too. The IRS gives us deductions on our taxes for the amount given to churches and charities. We can keep track of our tithes, even get a statement for the amount given and let the IRS know how generous we are so that we get the reward of the reduction of our taxes.
I’m not saying this is bad, yet Jesus said secrecy. (This is one the Lord has been working on me about.) I don’t have the answer for everyone. We give our tithes and monetary offerings and they are usually recorded (maybe we should begin to give anonymously in cash?). We give tangible items and don’t worry about receipts and usually forget what was given and the value of it. We’ve been known to pay for someone’s meal at a restaurant with a note that Jesus loves them and walk out before they know it’s been done. (Part of me always wants to see their face when they’re told, but we want to be gone.)
The point is, as Believers, we’re supposed to give. It’s a matter of obedience to Almighty God. We’re also supposed to point everything back to the Savior, lifting Him high. If I let my giving clang loudly, I’m pointing to me, not Him.There are two things God said to do in secret. One is pray, the other is give.
Coffee, Bible, Journal.