When asked to help, the two most common responses are always “I do not have the time” or “I do not have any money”. Yet, most of the time those giving these answers DO have the time to watch their favorite television show and DO have the money to indulge themselves at a nice restaurant, show or sporting event.
The poor woman who gave all she had into the Temple treasury shows us that no matter how destitute a person is, they always have something they can give IF THEY WANT TO. Giving is a state of mind and not something bound by the limitations of time and resources. Some of the most giving people who ever lived had the least available from which to give.
When people decide that taking care of themselves, family and even their church is more important than helping someone they do not know, they fall prey to the Pharisaical spirit that Jesus constantly railed against. The ability to give is NOT dependent upon one’s means but rather one’s willingness.
Random acts of kindness are the greatest expressions Godly charity available. Giving with strings attached and only for the recognition of gifts given are a total waste of time and effort. Jesus taught us that when it comes to prayer we should do it privately and when it comes to giving, we should do it anonymously.
For those who believe their prayers must be the longest and loudest, they really need to re-read what Jesus had to say about such matters in the Sermon on the Mount. For those who believe their giving should make the 6 pm news and be rewarded with windows and monuments named after them, really need to re-read what Jesus had to say about the subject.
If you cannot give without recognition for the giving, then your giving is in reality selfish and self-serving. If you cannot pray without everyone hearing and praising you for your “spirituality”, then your prayers are selfish and self-serving. If your acts of charity are accompanied by fanfare and accolades, then they are selfish and self-serving.
If you need the recognition for what good you do in this life, then don’t do it for it is not right. Whether in prayers, service or giving; what we do needs to be done with great humility drawing no attention to ourselves. Anyone who only does good with the stipulation they are honored for their act is automatically rejected as being egotistical and vain.
If you can honestly pray and no one knows it, you are praying the way Jesus intended. If you can honestly give and no one knows you did it, then you are giving the way Jesus instructed. If you can honestly do whatever you do with no anticipation of reward, then what you are doing is done from love and God WILL reward it.
Everyone one of us has time to pray and the means to give in one way or another. If we can cease either finding good excuses NOT to give or demand recognition for our giving, we can walk in the glorious thrill of anonymous and random acts of kindness stemming from love and love alone.