So when you give to the needy, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be praised by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward.
our charity finds expression for Christian character.
I. NATURAL CHARACTER FINDING NATURAL EXPRESSION. There is such a thing as the "milk of human kindness." Some people are born with amiable, sympathetic, charitable dispositions. Doing kind things is simply natural to them. It costs no effort. It involves no self-denial. They give freely. They give so pleasantly that we do not realize how little the giving costs them. We may thank God for the "charitably disposed" among us, and accept thankfully their help toward the perfecting of the human brotherhood.
II. DETERIORATED CHARACTER FINDING REPRESENTATIVE EXPRESSION, This is the case which Christ presents as a warning. Guileful persons, with lowered characters, will make their charity serve their selfish ends. You will see, by the way in which the gilt is made, the publicity of it; the anxiety about a suitable report being made of it; the mean advantage taken of the recipient of it; and the continuous after-brag about it; that a very deteriorated character, with very low and poor motives ruling it, was at the back of the gift. If we accept the gift, we cannot approve the giver.
III. SANCTIFIED CHARACTER FINDING PIOUS EXPRESSION. Our Lord puts the pious expression into these forms. The disciple with the qualities indicated in the Beatitudes
(1) keeps his giving secret from other people;
(2) he even keeps it a secret from himself, and tries not to think about it (ver. 3); and
(3) he does his kindness for his heavenly Father's sake, and because he wants to be a worthy child of him who is continually doing good. - R.T.
Their reward.I. A PROFOUND TRUTH ABOUT HUMAN NATURE — man works for reward.
II. There is a suggested CONTRAST — "their reward." In God all the noblest aspirations of men are met.
III. A SENTENCE which the Divine Speaker passes upon some of the men of the time. "They have their reward." They have it altogether. Irony, pathos. Their reward was transient, worthless. It does not necessarily follow that all good works done publicly forfeit God's approval hereafter.
(Canon Liddon.)all their reward. The gospel points out the great life that lies beyond; it charges man to use himself in this life that he may gain the higher.
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