The weekend has been quite a gruelling ordeal for me. On Saturday my beloved dog Sam died, so I went into Sunday with rather a heavy heart. I was not quite sure how much I had to give, yet I knew that this was a crucial moment in the life of St Bs and that I had to take a lead. And then yesterday was amazing. I have rarely felt so exposed than when I shared what Jane and I would be donating to the Go and Grow project. It felt like being naked before everyone (or rather what I imagine it would feel like to be naked, as I have no idea what that would actually be like) - very uncomfortable.
To my surprise it was received very well. I am very aware that many people have grown up with the perspective that all giving should be in secret. And indeed with regard to giving to those in need, Jesus says that we should be "careful not to practise our righteousness in front of others to be seen by them" (Matthew 6:1). And two verses later: "do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing" (Matthew 6:3). He is of course using hyperbole to make his point, but we would be wise to note that we should never give money, or in any other way, in order to receive plaudits from those around us. If we do, we have had all the reward that we shall ever get. But a special reward of intimacy with God is reserved for those whose hearts are set on pleasing God alone, and don't give a toss what anyone else thinks.
So where does all this leave us with regard to secret giving, when the rest of the Bible teaches in numerous places that we should encourage one another, by good example, how to be generous. The key surely is the attitude of our hearts. If we're looking to be proud of what we give, then that is our reward. If however we are seeking to please God, then our treasure is in heaven.