Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

True Piety
Matthew 6:1-8


Philip Manuel & Laila Anie Philip
Carmel MTC, Boston MA
But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.

Charles Spurgeon and his wife, according to a story in the Chaplain magazine, would sell, but refused to give away, the eggs their chickens laid. Even close relatives were told, "You may have them if you pay for them." As a result some people labeled the Spurgeons greedy and grasping. They accepted the criticisms without defending themselves, and only after Mrs. Spurgeon died was the full story revealed. All the profits from the sale of eggs went to support two elderly widows. Because the Spurgeons were unwilling to let their left hand know what the right hand was doing, they endured the attacks in silence. According to Pope Francis , True piety -godliness or reverence for God inspires compassion- love  in action for those in need.

 Jesus Christ in His Sermon on the Mount decries the hypocrisy of the Pharisees in three areas of Jewish life - giving, prayer and fasting. Since the Pharisees considered these the three pillars of religiosity, they went to extremes to portray themselves as pious.

Jesus in the given passage warns His Disciples to abstain from such overt practices of piety. He forewarns them that such acts will be the reward by themselves and will not impress God.

Prayer is communication between man and God. It does not require eloquence or bombastic language to draw God’s attention. It may however draw praise from men and thereby thwart the reward hoped for from heaven. God prefers  us to pray in secret and God will in turn listen. Most importantly we need to pray in confidence knowing that our Heavenly Father knows our needs and will grant them at the appropriate time.

When the question of alms-giving comes up we are reminded of the story of the poor widow who proffered up her only possession - two copper coins yet it was more highly regarded by Jesus than the large sums that the rich people ,out of their abundance, had put in the treasury. However in this passage Jesus is more concerned with the people who have a different motive in giving large sums of money. Jesus states that the motive for these people is self aggrandizement which in turn will be the only reward that they receive for their giving. Jesus, just as we saw in the illustration above, asks His disciples to give in secret and God who sees the act will justly reward it.

Let us remember the pillars of Lent - Praying, fasting and alms giving, keeping in mind the advice Jesus gave to His disciples.


Heavenly Father, Help us to give sacrificially, pray with out ceasing and live life according to your directions. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

"Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9:7

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