Matthew 6:2
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.
Character Shown in Religious DutiesR. Tuck Matthew 6:2
Having One's RewardCanon Liddon.Matthew 6:2
Their RewardBeecher.Matthew 6:2
AlmsgivingJ.A. Macdonald Matthew 6:1-4
As to the Duty of Giving AlmsP.C. Barker Matthew 6:1-4
Sermon on the Mount: 4. Ostentatious ReligionMarcus Dods Matthew 6:1-18
There is no certain evidence of such a custom as our Lord here refers to. Rich men sometimes had a certain day on which they distributed their alms. Then they may have sent round with a trumpet to call the poor people together. "In some cities Saturday is beggars' day, and every merchant, shopkeeper, and housewife lays by a store of coppers and remnants of food." Probably our Lord only used a figure, such as we employ when we speak of the "flourish of trumpets" by the boastful man. The chests in the temple to receive alms were trumpet-shaped, and were called trumpets; and no doubt some almsgivers would fling their coins into these trumpets so as to make a ringing noise, and call public attention to their benevolence. The point our Lord presents is this: alms-giving, as a recognized religious duty, finds expression for character - and it cultures the character through finding it expression - but let us be very careful that 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.)

Ostentatious piety has its own remuneration. There is real happiness in other things besides goodness. There is pleasure in wrong-doing; quarrelsome, destructive, lazy, gluttonous men find a certain kind of enjoyment in these. There is pleasure in the love of praise and pride. But that is 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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