I had a mini-debate on Twitter today over the motives behind donating to Hurricane Harvey. If you can donate, please do. It will help the hundreds of thousands of displaced people who had their lives torn apart by one of the biggest storms to ever hit the United States. It was simply devastating. There is no other way to say it.
That said, if you’re donating, don’t announce it. There is no reason to brag on your donations. It’s unnecessary. It’s reeks of self-promotion. It’s also unbiblical.
I brought up the first four verses of Matthew chapter six in our online discussion.
Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV)
1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 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. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
That’s my stance on publicly announcing what a great thing you’ve done for others.
Now, celebrities using their platform to urge others to vote? I’m good with that. Just don’t do it to gain public praise. What Houston Texans star J.J. Watt has done, raising $11+ million in relief efforts, is fantastic. He’s using his platform as a pro athlete to stand up and serve as a bullhorn to the country, pleading for help for his city. Now, if he was bragging about all the amazing sums of money HE donated, I’d have more of a problem with that.
One of the guys I was discussing this with suggested that Matthew 7 would apply here, too. I couldn’t agree more.
The motives with which we broadcast our comings and goings online are important. In this age where our lives' highlight reels, a.k.a. social media, play such a huge part in the way we view each other, it’s vital that we choose to showcase ourselves in a way that promotes God, not ourselves.
If you can afford to donate, please do. There are people who need the help. Just don’t go bragging about how great you are for doing so.