“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” ~ Matthew 6:1-4.
Secrecy in giving is taught here by Jesus. It is in this context that the pattern of the Model Prayer (verses 9 to 15) is given. This contrasts with the hypocrisy of men, which is encountered in this chapter.
“Take heed” (v.1) — Jesus affirms the positive value of such acts, but only when done in submission to God and love for Him, rather than in seeking human personal glory.
“reward” — This term is found in Matthew 6:1,2,5,16 and means “to receive a full payment” (see Philippians 4:18).
“hypocrites” (v.2) — In the New Testament, the hypocrite is one who claims to have a relationship with God and to love righteousness, but is self-seeking and even self-deceived. The hypocrites denounced in ch. 23 were unaware of their hypocrisy!
“do not sound a trumpet before you” — It is probably a figure of speech of someone calling attention to their religious acts.
“do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” (v.3) — This was an idiom for secrecy. It was not meant to be taken literally. It was a reaction to and guard against religious exhibitionism.
“your Father who sees in secret” (v.4) — The significance of private personal faith is found in the believer’s personal trust in God. Believers show their personal relationship to God in unobserved activity more than any other way (cf. Matthew 6:6, 18). Attitude, not secrecy, is the key (cf. Matthew 5:16).