READ: Matthew 6:2-4
- It’s hard to imagine a world in which people would literally trumpet their benevolence to others. It would be like taking a press crew with you as you dropped some coins into the Salvation Army Red Kettle. Jesus’ statement is similar to our, “blow your own horn.” Some take seriously the statement that says, “If I don’t blow my own horn, who else will?” While the statement may be hyperbolic, the point is still obvious.
- Jewish culture was without any form of public welfare. If the needy were to be cared for, it had to be at the hands of the others. There were clear expectations upon families to care for their own, but also, to care for those unable to care for themselves. Some Rabbi’s actually forbade their followers from giving more than 20% above their tithe (10%). Somehow, it’s hard to imagine having to give that restriction to most people today.
- What is often pointed out about this text is true. Jesus doesn’t say, “Don’t help the poor”; He says, “Don’t help the poor in order to be seen.” There is an ongoing urgency (even in our welfare driven culture) to help those who are in need. We should give liberally to those who are struggling to meet their basic needs. But, we should do so quietly and privately, without fanfare or headlines.
- Describe a time when you were the recipient of someone’s kindness during a time of need.
- What are some ways you can give to the poor in your community?
- How can we teach each new generation to give graciously to those less fortunate than we are?
PRAY: Thank God for His ongoing care in your life. Pray for opportunities to give to others. Pray that you can cultivate a kind, generous heart.