Six days ago we began a new series that has a connection to the previous series, ‘fruit,’ in its metaphorical manifestation. It consists of the qualities noted in Galatians 5:22-23 as the fruits of the Spirit. If you missed the Hebrew Word from the Lord titled ‘the fruit of the Spirit,’ we recommend that you read it now. You can find it in a previous email from about two weeks ago. We are taking a one-day break from the series in order to expand the boundaries of yesterday’s fruit of the Spirit: ‘generosity,’ ‘ne•di•voot.’ Please, find yesterday’s email and read it now if you can.
Levels of Giving – The reward for giving should come only from God, not from men!
There is a chance that you may find this note somewhat embarrassing. This is because in our cultures we forget the connection between charity and humility. If you ever needed help for your livelihood from others, you know how it is coupled with humiliation. The mere need for charity from another human is hard on most people. Yet, the common way of offering charity is when the identity of both the giver and the receiver are known. Hence, there is the risk of humiliating here. The Jewish commandment of giving charity, which is called ‘ma•tan ba•se•ter’ (giving in secret) draws its practice from the Bible:
“A gift in secret pacifies anger; and a bribe in the bosom strong wrath”
Of course, the ‘anger’ here is another way to describe humiliation. Think of this, if our only intention is to help others, why then do we need our name to be announced as donors, sometimes even with the amount donated? Doesn’t this constitute pride and a need to be rewarded? If so, this way of giving charity suffers some deficiency. The giving is not pure if one expects a reward that will serve his/her interests. I always wondered why we notify someone that we prayed for them. Isn’t the act of praying sufficient? Why do we feel the need to notify the focus of our prayer? Do we expect to be rewarded for it by hearing ‘thank you’?
The true form of biblical giving and charity, whether it is money, food or prayer is when the identities of both the giver and the receiver are concealed. Furthermore, one needs to make an effort to keep it undisclosed! Jesus, Yeshua, was very explicit when teaching this Jewish way of ‘ma•tan ba•se•ter’:
“Be careful that you don’t do your charitable giving before men, to be seen by them, or else you have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Therefore when you do merciful deeds, don’t sound a trumpet before yourself, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may get glory from men. Most certainly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you do merciful deeds, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand does, so that your merciful deeds may be in secret, then your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly”
After these divine words, any further explanation is of no use!