One of the things I do not like about politicians is the wishy-washy, non-committal answers to direct questions. If I am unsure about something, my aim is always to obtain a clear and definite answer. Jesus always provided definitive answers and instruction. Sometimes the instructions are simple and straightforward while other times they are difficult to grasp and can take time to fully understand. For example, thinking of myself as light was relatively easy but thinking of myself as salt took a bit more effort.
In Matthew 6, the Lord is completely clear when he says, “when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet.” In fact, He starts this topic off with a warning – “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people.” There is no showboating in the Kingdom of God. You can either get praise from man or give glory to God but you can’t do both. There were those, of course, who thought that they could and their ostentatious behaviour was always on display, in their giving, their praying and their fasting. Jesus had no time for hypocrisy and had no problem pointing out this religious act of false humility and righteousness.
It is interesting to note that Jesus did not say ‘if’ you give but ‘when’ you give; this is something we are clearly expected to do. The emphasis though is not on how much you give but on how you give it – “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.” What you give is between you and the Lord and the only recognition worth anything comes from “your Father who sees in secret (and) will reward you.”