When it comes to Jesus given this could easily be as much part of his public life as part of his private life. Jesus gave of himself publically, John 3:14-15 ‘Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life’. However we shall including giving in as part of Jesus’ private life because of his teaching in Matthew 6:2-4 ‘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 men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’.
Jesus spoke much about giving, both to God, the government and anyone in need. John Chrysostom said that ‘Charity is, indeed, a great thing, and a gift of God, and when it is rightly ordered likens us to God Himself, as far as that is possible; for it is charity which makes the man’.
It could be indeed the reason that Jesus both gave so much and taught so much about given, because this is an area that we can become more like God. The Bible calls us time and time again to look after the poor. Sam Storms says ‘Our giving is but a reflex of God’s giving.’ Our giving is not limited to finances but includes our whole selves. Giving and serving are very closely linked. So Jesus teaches that our giving is to be done in private and demonstrates this often in his ministry (Matthew 9:30, Mark 7:36 and Luke 8:56).
What’s at stake here is nothing less than our heavenly rewards! Jesus said that if we do our acts of righteousness before men to be seen, we will have no reward from our Father in heaven. Yet if we do our giving in secret, our Father will reward us. Our treasures on earth decay, or are taken away from us (Matthew 6:19) but Peter says we have an inheritance in heaven that can never perish, spoil, or fade (1 Peter 1:4). If we truly grasped the significance of our heavenly rewards, we might be less inclined to trade them in for temporary, earthly recognition. C.S Lewis claims “Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours.”
God made all of His creation to give. He made the sun, the moon, the stars, the clouds, the earth, the plants to give. He also designed His supreme creation, man, to give. But fallen man is the most reluctant giver in all of God’s creation. There are three kinds of giving: grudge giving, duty giving, and thanksgiving. Grudge giving says, “I have to”; duty giving says, “I ought to”; thanksgiving says, “I want to.” It is this final kind of given we should show.
The Father gave Jesus to demonstrate his love for us (John 3:16) and Jesus showed the ultimate attitude of giving as he gave his life for us. If we are to give like Jesus, our giving is to be marked by self-sacrifice and self-forgetfulness and not by self-congratulation.