The Reward of Alms
Matthew 6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Let’s reword that statement. Apply yourself and give great attention to being sure that you do not do your giving to the poor in front of or in the sight of men, so that they may view it. Or else, you will receive no reward, no pay, no wages from your Father in heaven.
They Have Their Reward
The word translated as reward here means, firstly, the dues paid for work, or, that is, wages. That’s what it literally means. Secondly, it means the rewards that God gives or bestows upon good deeds or endeavors. Either way it is, in essence, a form of pay or wages for something done, something rendered.
Matthew 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Therefore, because by doing your alms to be seen of men you do not have a reward, because of that, do not make a noisy display of your good deeds, like the hypocrites, like the pretenders do, in the churches and in the view of the public. Jesus says, I’m telling you plainly, they have received their reward.
What was their reward? It was that they received glory from men for being such generous givers to those in need. They received the praises of men for the help they provided for others.
Matthew 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
Alms in Secret
Notice the Lord said when you do alms, not if you do them. Now the word alms is used commonly these days. It is the Greek word eleemosune which means to show pity upon someone by giving them something, something they have need of. We would say donations or gifts to help the needy.
Jesus was saying, when you do good things to help those in need, keep it veiled in secrecy, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Don’t make a show of it. Don’t let people know about it. Keep it hidden from view. Keep it in secret.
Matthew 6:4 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Or, we might say, so that your good deeds will have been done in secret: and your Father, who sees what you do in secret, shall give you a reward, shall bless you with some type of recompense, openly, for all to see.
Your Reward Shall be Great
In other words, God will send a reward into your life. He will send a payment that is due to you.
Someone will surely say, brother, the Bible says that we are to give, hoping for nothing in return. It would be wrong to expect God to reward us for doing good. Well, let’s take a quick look at that verse.
Luke 6:35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.
The word lend here is from a word that means to lend money, to make a loan. In the context of this verse, it means to lend to people who are in need, but don’t look for them to repay it. And look what Jesus says after that. He says that your reward shall be great. If we should expect nothing in return, then why would the Lord tell us that our reward shall be great?
You see, religion has taken this verse out of context and made it appear to say that we are wrong to expect anything in return for our good deeds. And that could not be further from the truth.
No, we don’t expect to be repaid by the one we gave to. From them we hope for nothing again, but we do expect to receive something from the Lord, and that is absolutely scriptural and appropriate to believe that.
God Always Promised Reward
God’s promises have always provided reward as an incentive.
Psalm 41:1 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.
Psalm 41:2 The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies.
Psalm 41:3 The Lord will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.
Is there great reward promised for those who consider the poor? Absolutely. In fact, this promise has six rewards. For the man who considers the poor, the LORD will deliver him, and preserve him, and keep him alive, and bless him upon the earth, and save him from his enemies, and strengthen him on his sick bed.
Well, brother, you’re just trying to buy God’s blessing. No, money cannot buy any of these blessings. The only thing that will purchase these things is obedience to do what God says to do.
Proverbs 19:17 He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
There is a promise of repayment for displaying compassion for the poor through giving. The word lendeth here means to be joined to or bound to another as in a lender’s agreement.
The money we give to help the poor is money that is borrowed by the Lord, and He is bound by contractual agreement to repay it with interest. Giving to the poor is the greatest investment we can possibly make. There is a guaranteed return.
He Shall not Lack
Proverbs 28:27 He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.
Does the Lord promise to reward the one who gives to the poor? Yes, He promises that he shall not lack. What a wonderful promise from God! The promise that we will never be in a condition of want and need if we make it a habit of giving to the poor and helping the needy.