When you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
After denouncing hypocrisy, Jesus gave us an example of hypocrisy in worship–specifically in the area of giving. He said, “When you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full” (Matthew 6:2).
What did Jesus mean by “do not sound a trumpet”? First, He probably meant it literally. Some scholars say the Pharisees would blow trumpets to signal their almsgiving. When those who were destitute heard the trumpet, they would gather around, and the Pharisees would scatter money on them. Blowing a trumpet was a way of attracting everybody’s attention to their giving.
But Jesus was also speaking figuratively in these verses. He was saying, “When you give, do not toot your own horn.” If you are doing something for the poor, do not take a selfie and put it on social media so everybody knows what a generous person you are. If you are giving your tithe at church, do not put the check face up in the offering plate so everybody can see it. If you are making a large donation to God’s work, do not insist that your name be chiseled on a building. At First Baptist Dallas, we have to beg people to allow us to put their names on our buildings. It is a way of honoring those who have a God-size vision. Romans 13:7 says we are to honor those to whom honor is due. But if somebody says, “We will give you this amount of money if you put our name somewhere,” we are not going to do that. Do not blow the trumpet when you give.
If you do give in order to be seen by others, Jesus said you “have [your] reward in full” (Matthew 6:2). That phrase “reward in full” is the Greek term “apecho,” which literally means “paid in full.” Recently we had a guy come by our house to repair our air conditioner. When he finished, he gave us a bill. I gave him my credit card, and when he had run the credit card, he stamped that bill with the words “paid in full.” What did that mean? It meant I had paid him exactly what was due him. He had no right to expect any more money from me.
If you give in order to be seen by others and receive applause for it, Jesus said you have been paid in full. You have already gotten exactly what was due.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Straight Talk About Your Worship” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2022.
Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org