Why “Giving God the Glory” May Not Work Like We Think

Matthew 6:2

2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 



They said they needed the trumpets so the poor would know alms were being given in the streets. I mean, what’s the point of giving stuff away if no one is there to get it?

It’s always something like that. I mean, you didn’t really think they would be blowing trumpets as a brazen effort to get people to notice the depth of their generosity did you? No, it was far more subtle; probably the equivalent of a public service announcement today.

Press Releases. It’s a modern day trumpet. We let no good deed of our group or organization go unpublished. We are a non-profit for crying out loud! ;0)

Testimonies. Yet another godly strategy for making known our good mission work to others. We are raising awareness, right?

After all didn’t he just say something about letting our light shine so others could see our good works. . . . that this would glorify God? Come on Jesus! What gives!

It strikes me that there’s a difference between “giving glory to God,” as though glory were ours to give, and glorifying God. Let’s walk back to this earlier text in the sermon.

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16.

There’s a way of doing our good deeds that actually shines the light on ourselves. I think this is when we feel the need to say things like, “give God the glory.” When we do good deeds as an outward expression of a deep, inward love for God, we don’t have to say that. Upon “seeing” it, people will glorify God in heaven. Things actually done for the glory of God do not have to be referenced as such. It is obvious to people. If I’m honest, a lot of what I do is tainted with my own self interest. Sure I want to glorify God, but I have a very subtle and self deceptive way of sharing the spotlight. It’s a growing edge for me. Jesus will give us the antidote tomorrow. It has to do with secrecy.

Here’s a clarifying word from Wesley on point:

But take heed that you do not the least thing with a view to your own glory. Take heed that a regard to the praise of men have no place at all in your works of mercy. If you seek your own glory, if you have any design to gain the honor that comes of men, whatever is done with this view is nothing worth; it is not done unto the Lord; he accepts it not; “you have no reward” for this “of our Father which is in heaven.” Thirteen Discourses on the Sermon on the Mount. p.116.

It makes me wonder: what’s my trumpet of choice?

What’s yours?


1. T or F. We crave honor from others to the extent we do not experience being honored by God at the core of who we are? What are the implications of this reality?

2. What is it in human beings that wants “glory?” What can be done about it?

3. Do you see the difference between trying to give our glory to God and actually glorifying God? Wrestle with this.

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ.  jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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