Matthew 6: 1 – 4

Giving to the Needy

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Just like Matthew 5: 38 – 42 we’ve got advice that on the surface seems good, but when you think about it, it doesn’t make much sense. When the most important point is to help the needy, the question is why God cares if you make it known that you’re doing so. Surely the promotion of a needy cause is a worthy activity and shouldn’t be hindered by restrictions or done with the fear of eternal damnation.

Which also begs the question of how celebrities (or anyone, really) promoting a charity should be considered by these criteria. On the face of it Live Aid, USA for Africa, We Are the World, Do They Know it’s Christmas? and Bono’s work with DATA etc. are going to get those involved barred from heaven, which doesn’t sound very charitable at all. I could be reading this wrong, but “If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven” seems pretty clear in its intent.

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