“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 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. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Matthew 6:1-2
Jesus’ words here sound a warning to everyone who tries to do good in the world. There is a massive temptation when giving aid or helping others, to do so for the recognition and sense of pride that rightly comes from such acts of generosity or service. When such giving or acts of service are done with the express purpose of raising one’s profile in the eyes of others the entire meaning of them is robbed from them and they have amounted to nothing in terms of helping the giver’s heart to approach God. That is not to say that the recipients of such acts or giving are not helped, there may well be good done to others and much blessing received by them.
Jesus makes the point that if we are to receive a blessing in the giving we should be careful to hide from others those acts of service or gifts. If our purpose is to move closer to God by using them as acts of worship and service to him then we are to forego the worldly accolades and look to the Father for any reward and recognition.
And Jesus promises there is a reward for those who approach God in such acts and gifts. Which reward are we seeking?