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(MATTHEW 6:1-18)

a) Almsgiving in Secret
(Matthew 6:1-4)
1Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have not reward from your Father in heaven.2Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.3But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,4that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly. (1Corinthians13:3; Matthew25:37-40; Romans12:8)

Matthew was a tax collector at the Roman customs in Capernaum. He became an expert in unveiling the deception of merchants and travelers. He observed how people loved their money and held on to it. So, he understood clearly from the sermon of Christ about worship that every righteous should offer donations to God. Matthew was convinced that the sincerity of the worshipers could be seen in the way and the amount of money they offered.
Jesus did not talk much about the value of the offering by a believer, but stressed the way of making it and concentrated on the intent of his mind why and how to give.
Christ did not ask His followers to pay the tithe. He rather concentrated on the sacrifice originating from a merciful heart by reason of love, just as He has sacrificed Himself completely for sinners. As such, He expected His followers to participate in the responsibility of the church in accordance with their love and capability. The intent is as important as the act, and he who loves much sacrifices much, according to what he owns. Yet, he who does not love remains stingy. The needy widow gave her daily pay in full. The amount was small, but was a great amount before the Lord. She gave more than all the rich who presented only the tithe of the surplus of their money. The Lord looks at the heart. He wants to free those that trust their money as their golden idol. Can your love for God free you from clinging to your wealth and guide you to financial sacrifice for the spread of the gospel and help for the needy? The Lord’s Spirit urges you to give, in public and in private, real sacrifices to the Lord. Giving is not a duty in Christianity, but a privilege to express the spiritual growth of the believer.
Christ treated the subject of giving alms in secret without the knowledge of any one, and without putting the amount and the name on the records of donors, which would make the gift known to every body. He who makes himself obvious and expects honor from man for his gifts will lose the divine blessing. Jesus urged His disciples when giving their alms, not to tell the members of the family and friends that the donor may not become proud afterwards.
“Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” when you give alms. Perhaps this alludes to corban, giving gifts to God in the temple treasury – something possibly done with the right hand while entering or exiting the temple passing the treasury box. Or giving alms with the right hand may indicate a graceful willingness to give rather than an awkward reluctance. The right hand may be used in helping the poor, lifting them up, dressing their sores, and doing good deeds other than financial contributions. But, whatever kindness your right hand does to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Conceal it as much as possible; try to keep it private. Do it because it is a good work, not because it will give you a good name.
We must not take too much notice of the good we do – applauding and admiring ourselves. Self-conceit and an adoring of our own shadow are branches of pride. We find those had their good works remembered to their honor, who had themselves forgotten them. When we take least notice of our good deeds, God takes most notice of them.
Do we give our gifts to obtain more blessings and a tangible reward in paradise? Our God is not a merchant and does not pay interest for alms from the heavenly bank. Before we had given Him our gifts, He had already sacrificed His only Son completely for us. The Lord Himself is our reward! We do not sacrifice to obtain salvation, but we contribute because we have already obtained salvation, so we give our money and ourselves to the Father and the Son guided by the Holy Spirit. The intent of giving in Christianity is the thanks and praise for our freely given salvation.
The declaration of the name of God the Father makes the giving of alms meaningful. Can the children present alms to their Father? No, but they present to Him symbols of their thanks and give Him a share of the crop that He gave them out of His fullness. Our God is not in need of your gifts, for He is rich, He is the giver, but He lets His children present to Him the produce of prosperity and participate with Him in spreading the gospel and helping the poor wisely. The Lord has laid a big responsibility upon us that we may continuously participate in the responsibility of the church. So who moves and who gives pleasantly and regularly?
Some of the rich Jews used to pay their contributions in public, that even a parade might go out in their names, trumpets sounded and drums beaten. But today, we sacrifice our lives for God in secret, without words or blowing. Sacrifice your heart and your money for God and do not tell anybody of your services, for you are the Lord’s and the Lord is yours.

O Heavenly Lord, Thank You for bearing us patiently. Please forgive us our hypocrisy and small sacrifices and teach us to give all our life in thankfulness as our praise to You, that we may continuously help the poor, the sick and the needy. Bless all who seek You and do not know You, Teach us to keep silent when we give our alms and bind us to meekness and self-denial. Help the members of our church to continuously contribute in the financial charges asked of them.
How should an offering be made before God the Father?