The Gospel of Matthew

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This devotional is written by Joeri Pronk. Joeri is a musician and composer from the Netherlands with a name that's impossible to pronounce when you only see it in writing.

Matthew 6:1-4

Giving to the Needy

6 "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.

2 "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. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Reflection

As a musician I'm not sure if I can agree with these verses. I do like trumpets, and musical instruments tend to sound much better when your left hand knows what your right hand is doing.

But through God's eyes it does make complete sense. Often when we talk about giving we first think about ourselves. Whether it's time or money, we weigh our options and tend to assess what's most beneficial to us. What do I gain? And how do I get the biggest return on my "investment"?
Even our attention is not for free. Through the day we make lots of split-second decisions to decide if something (or someone) is worth our attention. But I don't think that's how love works. And especially not God's love. You are already the return on His investment (his creation). Just the way you are. That's how He made you.
And that's also how He wants us to see others. I want to encourage you to take the time for people. To hear what they have to say. To listen. That goes for everyone you meet. Your colleague, the cashier, your annoying boss, that homeless person. Literally everybody is your neighbour.
Imagine yourself being that homeless person. Sitting there all day, next to the tube entrance. I'd rather hear "sorry, I don't have any cash on me" than to be fully ignored, like I don't exist. And a conversation might even mean more to me than a few coins. With a listening ear and some genuine interest you can make someone's day.
As an introvert I know how uncomfortable it can be to initiate a conversation. And it doesn't always go well. But remember: you don't need any "return on your investment". God will see your kindness, and He will bless you for it.


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