John Chrysostom: Inward Intent

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Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Matthew 6:1

“When Jesus warned, “Beware of practicing your piety before men,” He then added pointedly, “to be seen by them.” On first glance it seems as if the same thing were being repeated, but if you were carefully to pay attention you will note the careful distinction. Alms may be given in the presence of others primarily to be seen by them, or they may be given in the presence of others but not to be seen, or they may be openly given in order to be seen but still not be seen, or they may be given quietly and still be seen. He is not focusing simply on the outward act done but on the inward intent.”

John Chrysostom in The Gospel of Matthew, Homily 19.2 in Matthew 1-13, volume 1a, edited by Manlio Simonetti (ACCS; Downers Grove: IVP, 2001) 124.

What God cares about related to generosity in good times and bad ones is the intent of our hearts. Don’t give to be seen. God sees and will not reward you.

Perhaps giving in secret is about being seen by God. What would change if you focused only on what God sees and what He thinks about your giving?

It might leads us to talk about the things people don’t talk enough about, like money. Pray for me. I teach Faith and Finances at Northern Seminary on five Tuesdays in June.

Register to join us if you wish. It’s not a credit course, but rather a continuing education seminar. And pray for God to work in the hearts of the students.