Read Matthew 6:1-4
1 Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. 2 When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. 3 But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. 4 Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (NLT)
It is so easy to do the right thing for the wrong reason. The people referred to by Jesus are actually doing good to others in need. And they get recognition for it. But their generosity is corrupted by twisted motives. Those motives don’t mean the poor aren’t blessed, it just means that the giver is not as blessed as he or she might be.
We might not blow trumpets but we can more subtly draw attention to our acts of giving. Even more subtly, we can secretly take pride in them. This is why Jesus tells us not to let our left hands know what our right hands are doing. Not only are we to refrain from announcing our generosity to others, we don’t even announce it to ourselves. Patting ourselves on the back for our humility is not actually very humble!
Of course there is nothing wrong with our generosity being acknowledged by others. The issue is whether our generosity is motivated by such acknowledgement. Getting public recognition may be a by-product of our giving, it is never meant to be the reason for our giving.
We have no need to show off about our generosity. The poor may benefit from it, and above all, our Father appreciates it. That is about all the ‘reward’ we need.