No one likes a showboat. Before the millionaires began fighting with the billionaires about money, the NFL had been for many years cracking down on celebrations. They league office determined that more of their fan base was tired of the egotistical showboating.
As Spring is just around the corner here in MI (yes, I know it has officially turned Spring this past Sunday, but here in MI we call this time of year “Sprinter,” a mix between winter and spring) baseball season is just around the corner. What happened to a ballplayer who takes a little too much time around the bases after hitting a homerun? He is liable to get plunked the next time he comes to bat.
One of the reasons why so many are turned off by religion and church today is that there is too much showboating amongst Christians. American Christianity has become too much about me, and not enough about Him. It was Dr. Raymond Barber who once said, “Many Christians have a full display table but empty shelves.”
Jesus surmises it in one word: hypocrisy.
Matthew 7:5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
Luke 13:15 The Lord then answered him, and said, Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering?
Matthew 15:7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
Matthew 22:18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
And this is just a small sampling size. Jesus had no use for hypocrites. Most Christians have no problem pointing out most hypocrites except for one – themselves!
In the next few post, we will be studying 3 forms of hypocrisy that can be practiced within the church. In the full text listed above, we know these are warnings to believers and not the lost because of the phrase Jesus uses – your Father which is in heaven (6:1).
Some people give only to demonstrate their own generosity and not help others. Some pray as if their prayers were addressed to people. Some fast, not to humble themselves before God, but to show how self-disciplined they are.
Now, Jesus makes it clear that there are rewards to be earned. Salvation is not a reward; it is a gift of grace and mercy. Rewards can be described as dues paid for work. There are rewards to be earned for heaven. “To be seen of men…glory of men…” - The hypocrite who does the right thing for the wrong motive is rewarded. The hypocrite misses on a lasting, eternal, heavenly reward for cheap, temporal, earthly recognition. Many Christians should take time to enjoy all the “pats on the back” they get, because that is the only reward they will ever get.
We need to ask ourselves the question, are we all show and no go; are we SHOWING OFF AND LOSING OUT? Jesus shows us in our text three areas that we do not want to be a hypocrite in and show off if we do not want to lose our heavenly reward. We will look at the first one today:
DON’T SHOW OFF IN YOUR ALMSGIVING
Mat 6:1-4 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. (2) Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. (3) But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: (4) That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
What Jesus is basically saying here is, “Hey, don’t show off your generous giving.” Thayer’s give a good definition of the word “Alms”
- mercy, pity, especially as exhibited in giving alms, charity;
- the benefaction itself, a donation to the poor, alms
These are the folks who like for you to know exactly how much they give. They are the ones who hold up the offering plate so everyone can see them give. When the only time we give is when we are “touched” by a special need – then you have your reward. Our motive should be to give faithfully and cheerfully.
The word “alms” is a shortened form of the word “almsgiving.” The word is sometimes used interchangeably with the word “righteousness.” So, it can be said that almsgiving is the rendering of ANY Christian service or righteous deed.
In essence, Jesus said don’t show off when you give, when you do something good to help someone out, or any kind deed you do. Don’t develop an “I” problem: look what I did, look what I done, etc.. When our gift or our service is motivated by anything but a desire to please God and to help others, two things are true:
- Nullifies the worth of the gift
- Reveals your true nature as someone who is conceited
Let’s not show off in our almsgiving so we do not lose our heavenly reward.