You’re on a stealth mission today – to donate gifts without being spotted. It might be more tricky, but if you’re fit and healthy, use caution and your imagination to see what you can do on the way back from your daily exercise or trip to the supermarket. No thanks expected. ‘Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’ (Matthew 6:4)
Green: Write some encouraging notes and stick them to a lamp-post or fence on your daily walk to cheer up whoever sees them. Make sure to go back and collect them another day so you’re not littering.
Amber: Leave a potted plant with a note on someone’s doorstep. That way, they can leave it there and pick it up after a couple of days for caution.
Red: Meet someone’s financial need by delivering some cash within a blank greeting card or use your Stewardship Giving Account to make an anonymous donation.
‘…so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’ (Matthew 6:4 NIV)
If you trace through Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, you’ll see you’ve got two types of righteousness on show, and they’re polar opposites. On the one hand it’s the (so-called) ‘righteousness’ of the religious leaders of the time – they love to tick boxes and impress others with their eloquence and fervency. They love to be noticed. It’s an ‘external’ righteousness and it’s about them. Jesus says when they pray, give or fast they do so with other people in mind and look for honour from them as a reward. Ultimately, Jesus says, they’re building on sand (Matthew 7:26–27).
On the other hand, there’s the true righteousness that marks the radical counter-cultural kingdom of Jesus. It’s building on the rock. It starts with poverty of spirit (5:3) and so knows our own need of forgiveness. It knows the steadfast reality of having a generous Father in heaven who loves us, and so it’s an ‘internal’ righteousness that seeks to live for him alone, rather than living to impress others. It’s living with an audience of one.
This is the kingdom of heaven that will turn the world upside-down.
Which means today as we seek to live for our Father in heaven, we can afford to be truly generous with others – a blessing to those we rub shoulders with. We’re not living to please them or to impress them; the one who really matters is already pleased and impressed with us because of Jesus! So why not do something outrageously kind today in secret, because you know how much your Father has been outrageously kind to you, in giving you his Son?