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Counsels on Stewardship

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    Section 8—The True Motives for Acceptable Giving

    Chapter 39—The True Motive in All Service

    In the days of Christ the Pharisees were continually trying to earn the favor of Heaven, in order to secure the worldly honor and prosperity which they regarded as the reward of virtue. At the same time they paraded their acts of charity before the people in order to attract their attention, and gain a reputation for sanctity.CS 195.1

    Jesus rebuked their ostentation, declaring that God does not recognize such service, and that the flattery and admiration of the people, which they so eagerly sought, was the only reward they would ever receive.CS 195.2

    “When thou doest alms,” He said, “let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth; that thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father, which seeth in secret, Himself shall reward thee openly.”CS 195.3

    In these words Jesus did not teach that acts of kindness should always be kept secret. Paul the apostle, writing by the Holy Spirit, did not conceal the generous self-sacrifice of the Macedonian Christians, but told of the grace that Christ had wrought in them, and thus others were imbued with the same spirit. He also wrote to the church at Corinth and said, “Your zeal hath stirred up very many.”CS 195.4

    Christ's own words make His meaning plain,—that in acts of charity the aim should not be to secure praise and honor from men. Real godliness never prompts an effort at display. Those who desire words of praise and flattery, and feed upon them as a sweet morsel, are Christians in name only.CS 195.5

    By their good works, Christ's followers are to bring glory, not to themselves, but to Him through whose grace and power they have wrought. It is through the Holy Spirit that every good work is accomplished, and the Spirit is given to glorify, not the receiver, but the Giver. When the light of Christ is shining in the soul, the lips will be filled with praise and thanksgiving to God. Your prayers, your performance of duty, your benevolence, your self-denial, will not be the theme of your thought or conversation. Jesus will be magnified, self will be hidden, and Christ will appear as all in all.CS 195.6

    We are to give in sincerity, not to make a show of our good deeds, but from pity and love to the suffering ones. Sincerity of purpose, real kindness of heart, is the motive that Heaven values. The soul that is sincere in its love, wholehearted in its devotion, God regards as more precious than the golden wedge of Ophir.... We are not to think of reward, but of service.—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 120, 121.CS 196.1

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