“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.
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:1-4
The other day I was reading this passage. I have always considered this teaching from Jesus as instructions not to brag or be too public about the ways you practice your faith, to avoid the whole “my worship is better than your worship” stuff Christians all too often get into. I have thought of this passage as where we get the unspoken rule to not share how much you give, or how often you give. And I’m not suggesting the ideas of privacy and humility are not valuable gems from this piece of scripture, but the other day I noticed something sweet in the text.
Dependent upon your personality, you, like me, may struggle with trying to prove yourself to God. Maybe you, like me, can get caught up in what we do, how we behave, or if we are making right choices. Again, not entirely bad things, but, even with my understanding of how God operates, I still fool myself into thinking merit is the key. And I actually do think good things are in store when we make healthy choices; that’s how it plays out here, and I think that’s how it will play out later. But it was this simple thought from verse four:
“Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Then your Father, who sees.
For a moment this passage was not another way to do or not do some spiritual task, or a guideline on how to correctly give, but a reminder of a God who notices what so often feels unnoticed. While historically, the idea of a God who sees has been used as a fear-based tool to guide correct behavior, the idea also offers a comforting awareness that you are seen.
How many times did you feel unseen? How often have you set back while someone was praised for the same thing you did not too long before, or perhaps they are getting accolades for the work you did? In those moments, you have a Father, who sees.
I love when God uses a familiar passage, turns the prism of the text just a little, and a small gift is spoken over our thoughts. I’m hoping someone else out there needed to remember you have a Father who sees, you.