Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in Heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father Who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
The right way to help others is discreetly. Discreet means 'maintaining silence about something of a delicate nature' (Random House Dictionary). Most often, people in trouble are embarrassed about it. It's hard to feel helpless.
Jesus came 'To preach the Gospel to the poor... to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed' (Luke 4:18). Why them? Because the helpless need help. 'The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit' (Psalm 34:18).
He wants you near them, too. 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me' (Matthew 25:40).* Your helping hand leads others to Christ.
But be quiet about it. 'A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter' (Proverbs 11:13). 'A good man deals graciously and lends; He will guide his affairs with discretion' (Psalm 112:5).
If you aren't discreet, two things happen: 1) When you announce your good deed, you announce someone's private need. 2) When you exalt yourself, you are destined to fall: 'Whoever exalts himself will be humbled' (Matthew 23:12).
'Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty Hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time' (1 Peter 5:6). You humble yourself by taking no credit for your charitable deeds. Here's the truth: If God put you in a position to help others, do it! But He is the One Who deserves the credit--not you. Not me. Not actors, models and talent for Christ.
So what if you're only an extra on set? So what if your name isn't in lights? So what if your credit is small? Count it all joy, because God will 'Himself reward you openly.' What if the world elevates you to stardom? Seize the moment, but defer the glory. Peter did. Paul and Barnabas did. Because the King of kings did, too. Shouldn't you?**
Give credit where credit is due: Give 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!' (Luke 2:14).
To Be Continued...
* The biblical significance of helping others: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+25%3A31-46&version=NKJV
** 'When Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him king, He departed again to the mountain by Himself alone' (John 6:15).
** 'As Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, 'Stand up; I myself am also a man' (Acts 10:25-26).
** ' 'The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!'...'But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, 'Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them' ' (Acts 14:11,14-15).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Sermon On The Mount series.