Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.Matthew 6:1-4
Early on in my exercises of learning to preach the gospel, I was invited to speak at a large meeting away from my home church. After preaching one of the services, the congregation sang a song and came around to shake hands with me. Throughout the song, I felt like people were picking my pocket every time someone would shake my hand or hug my neck. Later, when I got back to my car, I realized that people were not trying to take things out of my pockets, they were actually putting checks and cash in my pockets! When I asked one of the deacons about it, he, almost pridefully, said, “we are giving to you in secret just like Jesus said to do!”
I laughed along with him at the time, but I am quite certain that this is not what Jesus meant in Matthew 6.
First of all, giving alms is not the same as an offering given to the church or to the support of a preacher. That form of giving is also a vital act of worship and we ought to be giving regularly and generously. I believe that is part of the steadfast continuance of fellowship observed in Acts 2:42.
Alms giving is something totally separate from support of the church, its members, and pastors. Alms giving is helping the poor that we meet during the course of the day inside and outside of the church.
Jesus said that the poor will always be with us. Therefore, we should prepare to help them as the Lord guides by His Spirit and provides the means. And we don’t need to contact the local media to make sure everyone sees us doing this! If the Spirit moves you to help someone, help them.
I think at least one way the Lord “rewards openly” when we do this is that He further blesses us with the monetary or physical means to help more people.
My Grandfather always told me, “You can’t out give God!”