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“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.”(Matthew 6:1-4)

Think about the last time you gave something to someone. Did it feel good after you practiced some sort of generosity? Whether it’s simply buying someone a meal, or donating a large sum to meet a greater need, we feel something light up inside of us when we give. Deep down, we have a propensity to be generous, but there is a tension that comes with that desire. We want to be recognized by others for our generosity.

If we are not careful, we can allow this craving for attention and recognition be the sole motivation for our giving. As followers of Jesus, we must do our best to remember the real reason we should be generous. Our giving should not come from a desire for human affirmation, but rather it should be based on wanting to honor our Heavenly Father. One way we can honor Him is to emulate His character.

For example, John 3:16 is one of the most famous verses in Scripture. Be careful that you don’t miss what this verse tells us about the character of God. It says, For God so loved the world, he gave… From the very beginning, our God has been a God of generosity. As His followers, we should be striving to give as He did — out of love, not out of our desire for recognition.

I encourage you today to be generous, but do it in a way that you can’t receive any praise for it. Buy the coffee for the person behind you in the drive-thru lane. Leave an anonymous gift on your co-worker’s desk. Whatever you choose to do, the Lord will see your generosity. Even if no one else notices this, He will honor you for it.

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