1 "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 "So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
This passage is about service that is to be done in secret. Notice it says "when you give," not "if" you give. We are to be about serving the Lord and others in secret.
When you give alms secretly, God uses you to bless others.
I still remember several incidents while we were attending a little church. I was going to seminary, and the people of the church made it a point to take care of us. They may not have realized it, but they were teaching us some great lessons. Several times we left after the worship service to find our car filled with groceries. We never knew the exact people who did this, but we knew the Lord was using these people to bless us.
When you give alms secretly, you please an audience of one - God.
1 "Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
Secret means secret. If you want to be seen by men, you will not be blessed by God.
When you are secretly serving others, you are really serving God
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
When you give alms secretly, God will reward you.
Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'
We gain …
1. Freedom from "approval addiction."
Imagine receiving criticism or judgment as "a very small thing." Imagine being liberated from the need to impress anyone.
2. Ministry from an overflow.
"Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return"
Paul echoes Jesus' words:
2 Corinthians 9:6
"Now this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall also reap bountifully"
3. A deeper relationship with God.
You can tell if you're being transformed into Christ-likeness by the way you treat other people.
Other "Secret" Services
Prayer - we should have secret prayer every day.
5 "And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Fasting - we should fast periodically.
16 "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.