Prepare – Matthew 6:1-4
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “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 others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
On October 28, 1949, Jim Elliot penned these words in his journal: “He is no fool, to give what he cannot keep, and to gain what he cannot lose.”
A few months later, Elliot learned of an unreached tribe called the Auca, living in the jungles of Ecuador. Elliot sensed God calling him to reach them for Jesus so he and his family moved to Ecuador and began delivering gifts to the tribe by plane. He learned phrases in the Auca language and spoke with tribe members from across a river bank. On January 8, 1956, Elliot was speared to death while sharing the gospel with them. He gave his earthly life so they could have eternal life. But the story didn’t end there. His attackers became followers of Jesus, and their community became transformed by the gospel.
God calls us to give to those in need—our time, our talents, and our treasures—not because they deserve it, but because God already gave us more than we could ever deserve. We give not so that others will praise us, but so that all people will praise God. Since we stand to inherit heaven’s riches, what stops us from giving freely to build God’s kingdom here on earth?
~Pastor Steven Dunkel