What were Jesus' rules for giving to charities, or the needy? Did He spell out any methods, or ettiquette, or ways to decide who is worthy of support?
Yes. Jesus' teaching on giving can be summed up in one short passage;
"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 honoured by men. I tell you the truth, 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." (Matthew 6:2-4).
He is making one basic point: Give privately, without fanfare or publicity. Give so secretly that the other parts of your life don't know about it.
Jesus does add a promise there. If you do your giving secretly, God will reward you openly.
This is a principle of course, not a new rule about tucking one hand into a pocket while the other one hands out cash or checks. Jesus assumes we will be giving to the poor, but He says to do it so privately that our the people in other parts of our life have no idea it is happening.
Doing our giving secretly may seem like fun, until we realize that this is against our human nature. We really want others to notice and to commend or praise us for this.
Fund-raisers seem to discover, sooner or later, that if you can get people to compete in giving, out-doing each other, or if they are honoured and recognized for their large gifts, then they will raise much more money.
That makes me sad. Jesus wants us to give out of love and compassion, and with thoughts of providing dignity to the recipient, but if our motives are selfish, can He really multipy and use it for miracles - like He did with the little boy's lunch that fed thousands?
What about the givers' motive then? Are they giving for their own sakes, and not for the sake of the needy? Or even for dual motives? If so, they are not giving for the glory of God, or because they are righteous, - or even because they want to help the needy save some face in accepting charity.
Jesus's rules for giving only say the right way to give is to do it humbly, quietly, and without looking for recognition – other than to know our Heavenly Father sees and some day He will reward and honour openly. There is no place for jumping over the moon, or other dramatics.
Do you think you could learn to apply Jesus' rule for giving, and find pleasure in discovering secret ways to give?
That's what I want to do. I'll give gifts to friends and family, and donations to worthy and needy missions or individuals as humbly and quietly as I can - for the Lord's notice only. Then when He blesses me openly, I'll practice my private little grin for Him, and give again out of whatever new resources or abilities He has given me. You see, I'm becoming a Giver like God.
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