No Conflict Here

November 15, 2022

“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-4 NLT

“I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:33-35 NLT

A few years ago, a woman asked me for an appointment because she was infuriated with her sister. I knew them both, so she felt I would be a fair audience for her complaint. She told me her sister made a Facebook post that was unbecoming for a Christian. She confronted her to no avail. I asked what it was, and she invited me to read it. I was FB friends with her sister as well, so I looked up the offending post. Her sister had completed the first year of tithing on both her husband’s and her income. They were also delighted that they had been able to have the faith to stretch themselves for a significant gift from them (no numbers mentioned) to the church building campaign. She excitedly shared how fulfilling it was to be a full participant in God’s work and invited others to go on the adventure with them and see how they would grow.

“What’s offensive and inappropriate about that?,” I asked. “It seems like an encouraging and helpful testimony.”

She rolled her eyes and said, “I think it’s bragging. Jesus said to let your gifts be in secret.” Well, that opened a big discussion. When I asked if she was a tither, she said she was not, but she considered herself to be a generous giver. She said her generosity had not extended to the building campaign yet, but it was in her plans.

If you are a serious Christian, with an understanding of God’s call to generosity, you realize already that she was missing it all the way around. Jesus told us to not draw our sense of significance or reputation from our gifts. The only reason a person would feel the need to do that is if they were not truly generous and needed to feel good about where they are. But Jesus and Paul and all the writers of Scripture say that true generosity cannot help but be noticed, because it is an overflowing lifestyle. We are examples of the generosity of Christ.

  • Jesus, help me be so like You that in every way my generosity can be an example!