Inspiration MinistriesBy Inspiration Ministries3 Minutes

“When you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do . . . so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” Matthew 6:2-3 NASB

For many living in ancient Rome, recognition was a primary goal. In his book about Julius Caesar’s extended family, historian Tom Holland describes how praise was craved by Romans at every level.

It wasn’t enough to do something noteworthy. Romans needed to be honored. The names of those who had done significant things “were inscribed everywhere in Rome: on the pedestals of statutes, on monuments in the Forum, on publicly displayed lists of consuls and priests.” Victorious generals expected public celebrations and parades.

This focus on attention went back to the foundation of the city. Summarizing this pattern, Holland writes, “The surest punishment was not death but to be consigned to oblivion.”

Many Believers have similar attitudes. Feeling hurt if they are not recognized, and wounded if others get attention. Wanting to make sure that they are praised for their achievements.

But Jesus taught an entirely different attitude. He warned us not to be hypocrites, craving honors from other people. He concluded that, if they receive honors, “they have their reward in full.” He advocated something completely different: Not even letting their “left hand know what your right hand is doing.”

He said that we are to give “in secret” and pray in our “inner room” with the door closed so no one can see us, confident that “your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” Always doing what is right, regardless if anyone knows.

Make sure God is pleased with your life. Don’t be a hypocrite. Remember that He looks at your heart, and promises great rewards if you please Him.


Prayer: Father, my goal is to please You with my life, regardless of the reaction of other people. Forgive me for times I’ve been a hypocrite. In Jesus’ name. Amen.