The first discipline of authentic faith that Jesus mentions in Matthew 6 is the discipline of giving. Notice that He says, “When you give,” not “if.” God’s people are generous people. The subject of generosity is one that is frequently taken up in Scripture. Jesus is the ultimate picture of generosity, and authentic disciples reflect His character. Giving is something that doesn’t come natural to us, given the fact of our fallen sinful nature. We often want to consume, not contribute. There is something innate within us that wants to acquire stuff rather than part with it.
Our desire to receive is even seen in the way that we give. I know that sounds contrary, but it is true. Giving can be motivated by selfishness. If you and I give for the sake of getting something in return, we’ve missed out on the true blessing that comes through being generous. We become no different than the very hypocrites that Jesus speaks of right here in these verses.
Jesus says, “When you give, don’t sound a trumpet.” In other words, don’t give for the sake of recognition. Don’t call attention to yourself. This is the way that the hypocrites gave. They loved to seek out the praise and admiration of others. The hypocrites gave with the glory of themselves in mind, not the glory of God.
Jesus says, “When you give, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Be so discreet in the way that you give that you remove yourself from the limelight. The only audience we should seek when it comes to giving is God. This passage does not mean that all of our external acts of generosity need to be done in absolute secrecy. It does mean that they must be done from a heart that is motivated by love for God, not love for applause.
For more, read Mathew 6:1-4