“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets . . . to be honored by men.” (Matt. 6:2)
IN FEBRUARY 2014, Pope Francis auctioned off his Harley Davidson motorcycle. A buyer purchased the bike for 327,000 dollars. The pope donated the money to charity. Though the auction took place in Paris, the story received international attention. Would you consider this as giving to the needy while announcing it with trumpets, or was it letting a good deed shine before people so that they may praise the Father in heaven?
Historically, giving to those in need has been a Christian thing to do. The pope’s gift was indeed a good deed. But Jesus warned against how we do good deeds. We have incredible skill at fooling ourselves. We can do good works on the outside, while making them a source of pride on the inside. We can shield ourselves from acknowledging our mixed motives, and our generosity can be corrupted by our haughtiness.
So what’s the remedy? Should we stop giving to charity? No. We should remove ourselves from the spotlight and its ensuing temptations when we do good deeds. But what about public figures like the pope? How can they do good deeds without garnering attention? Maybe they can’t. But they can be extra careful to keep their motives pure and free of self-deception.
The next time you donate money, don’t tell anyone about it.
Jarod Osborne is the lead pastor of Warsaw Wesleyan Church. He is also the author of Jaded Faith (WPH).
© 2017 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.