Secret Giving (12 August 2019)

Morning Encounter:

Introduction

Welcome to our second week exploring the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus deals with some of the big questions of his day – and of ours today. What is the good life? How do I live well? How do I become a good person? What we have in the ‘Sermon’ is a set of statements made by Jesus on how to live in the Kingdom of God, for now and for all eternity. Follow along this week as we dip into the greatest sermon ever told by the greatest person who ever lived.

Read:

When you do good deeds, don’t try to show off. If you do, you won’t get a reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to the poor, don’t blow a loud horn. That’s what show-offs do in the meeting places and on the street corners, because they are always looking for praise. I can assure you that they already have their reward. When you give to the poor, don’t let anyone know about it. Then your gift will be given in secret. Your Father knows what is done in secret, and he will reward you.

(Matthew 6.1-4)

Reflect:

It was common practice to give money to the synagogue, which would then be passed onto the poor and needy. It was also common for a significant gift to be acknowledged. Jesus isn’t criticising public giving- he is questioning the motive. If we give to be recognised and praised by others then we will get the ‘reward’ of their applause. When we live for the ‘audience of one’ and not for the applause of others, then God will reward what we do for him.

Respond:

Find ways to practice generosity today. Tip double, leave an anonymous gift for someone, make someone’s day a little easier and do it all secretly. Do it for the audience of one.

 

Midday Meditation:

‘When we do good deeds to be seen by human beings that is because what we are looking for is something that comes from human beings. God responds to our expectations accordingly. When we want human approval and esteem, and do what we do for the sake of it, God courteously stands aside because, by our wish, it does not concern him.’

(Dallas Willard The Divine Conspiracy)

Evening Reflection:

Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart;
naught be all else to me, save that thou art;
thou my best thought, by day or by night,
waking or sleeping, thy presence my light. 

(From ‘Be Thou My Vision’)

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