Daily Word

Misguided giving | Matthew 6:2-4

2 “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. 3 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 6:2-4 (NLT)

Continued correction

As we noted, the religious leaders were mis-interpreting and mis-applying and even adding unintended meaning to the Old Testament (OT) law. Jesus corrected them. It’s a similar pattern as in chapter 5: He exposes the hypocritical way then explains the proper one.


You’re walking down the street in Chinatown, Chicago and see a homeless guy. He’s trying to sell soap but doesn’t ask for money. Do you walk by or stop? In Matthew 5:42, Jesus told us to give to those who ask. Being a good Pharisee, we realize he didn’t ask so we keep walking. Yet a still small voice says, “as you did not do it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did not do it to me.’ (Mat 25:45 ESV)

Application in Jesus’ day

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had bastardized the idea of giving alms to the needy. They did it for the recognition and praise they would get. In their case, the needy got their blessing and so did the giver. But the giver missed the real blessing, the eternal one – in Heaven.

Today we are likely to simply neglect the giving with manifold excuses. We choose to not take the chance of being a Pharisee so don’t even give. Either way, we miss the blessing God wants to give – both to the needy and to us. 

Jesus’ correction

Jesus brought attention to this misguided giving. It easily applies to us today. “Don’t  let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” means to give when you are prompted, don’t overthink it. Definitely don’t do it to be recognized; no name plate on the wall.

God sees

Jesus also gives us a dose of theology. God sees all we do. We don’t need to worry that our giving (our good works) will go unnoticed. Likewise, we need to know that our lack of giving will also be noticed!


  • How would you respond to that homeless guy? Or maybe you have the other problem – does your right know what your left is doing when it comes to giving?
  • Are we heavenly minded? Do we realize followers of Christ are really headed to Heaven when we leave this earth. Heaven is for eternity! Let’s invest in Heavenly treasure that lasts forever rather than earthly ones that fade away.
Present present bags of meat sticks. Image from hickorynutgap.com *

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