December 30, 2020

Alms, Prayer, & Fasting 6:1-18

How NOT to Give vv. 2-4 Part 2

This secrecy in giving presents a bit of a conundrum, however. Elsewhere Jesus instructs us to “let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” How does one do both? Secret and open at the same time? Seems undoable. Many theologians agree that what Jesus is saying is that we should be open in our love for neighbour but indifferent to their praise or even their opinion. When we give, we give “as unto the Lord”. Or, as one of the theological thinkers put it, “show when tempted to hide; hide when tempted to show.” The endgame of the process is glory to God.

“Hypocrites” steal glory from God. They relish public recognition. Jesus had a dim view of them.

The word “hypocrite” comes from the Greek “pharisaios”. In turn the Greek root has an etymological parent in the Aramaic word “Pera” meaning “to separate”. But there are added nuances to the word – for instance, a hypocrite could be an actor in a Greek play, playing a part, feigning a personality or character that was not his own.