“Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” — Matthew 6:1-4

Overview

It is important that when you help needy people, your concern is for their welfare, not your own reputation.  If you wish to help a family member, friend, or anyone; it is best to remain anonymous with your giving.  One reason is so the person you are helping does not feel obligated to you.  Another reason is that your motive should be to help another person, not enhance your own reputation. 

Sometimes we need to examine our motivation to support other people.  It is easy to lose sight of the original motive and take credit for being a giving person.

Example

Denis with no money

Bill is a member of a church that helps needy people by supporting a local food bank.  The food bank provides food to needy people in the community twice a month.  One of Bill’s best friends, Denis, volunteers his services at the food bank.   Denis’s wife had to have surgery.  The part of the hospital bill that was not covered by insurance was very expensive.  Then Denis’s wife could not work for six months.  The financial impact to Denis’s family was devastating. 

Bill met with Denis and discussed the financial impact of the situation.  Bill felt strongly that he should help Denis.  Bill set up a monthly bank transfer to Denis’ checking account.  Denis was happy about the support. 

Then Bill told some of his friends about what he was doing for Denis.  Soon some of the friends discussed the support with Denis.  Denis felt very bad.  He developed strong feelings to repay Bill for his help.  Of course, it was months before Denis had any extra money, so he suffered from the knowledge that he owed his friend. 

Soon some of the friends let Bill know that Denis felt awful about owing bill the money.  Bill approached Dennis and let him know that he did not expect the money to be repaid.  Of course, since all the friends knew about the situation, Denis felt obligated. 

Bill realized that he should have donated the money anonymously.  He knew that if his objective was to help someone else, he did not need praise, he needed to keep his gifts confidential and make helping other people his objective, not building his reputation.

Summary

It is always good to support other people.  However, it is important to make sure your goal is to help someone else, not improve your reputation. 

Published by Jim Brandt

Jim Brandt was an all-conference college football player and served as a Marine Corps pilot during the Vietnam War. He also started a software company and served as an executive for the fifth-largest bank in the United States. Brandt won the Democratic party nomination for Congress twice. He is married and has three children.

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