Matthew 6:2 – So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so they may be seen by men.

Finances, for the most part, have been seen as a private affair. Typically, you do not ask a person “How much do you earn” or “How much money do you give to charity?” In this passage, Jesus is dealing with the “religious heart,” a heart that is more interested in the praise of others than the need before them. In America, because our Founders gave us laws that were built upon eternal laws, they chose to reward people for “charitable giving.” There is a time to report giving to the government and receive a break on your taxes. This is wisdom, because it gives you more to give. On the other side of this subject, I have watched pastors parade hundred dollar bills in front of God’s people so that all know how much they are giving. Some believe this helps the people be inspired to give more money.

Many times it is the work of the Holy Spirit that leads one to give. It is also the evidence of a good heart. What another does or does not do in this regard should have no bearing on my giving practices. Jesus states clearly in verse 2 that a show of our giving is “hypocrisy.” Jesus used the word hypocrisy, because it was not a motivation of a good heart in their giving, but a show so others will think well of them. Jesus calls it being “honored by men” (Matthew 6:2). Jesus said that when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. This is what is known as “oriental hyperbole.” It is an extreme statement in order to make a point. Give in secret, because it honors God. He will be your reward. A perspective which a good friend would teach and I have followed for years is, “to give, to get to give more.” The Lord is my supply. He is my source and the one who honors me in my giving. Jesus said, “That your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you” (Matthew 6:4).

Examine your heart today. Give the Holy Spirit control of your finances, giving and trusting your heavenly Father to be your reward.