That your alms may be in secret: and your Father which sees in secret himself shall reward you openly.
Shall reward thee openly. This turn of the sentence somewhat surprises us. It is not precisely what we expected. Making so much of giving in secret, and the Father seeing in secret, we expect to read, "shall reward thee in secret ways." Probably the "open reward" is promised because the man who makes a show of religion does so in order to get open and public fame. (It should, however, be duly noticed that the best manuscripts and most modern editors omit the word "openly.") Plumptre thinks the addition of the word "openly" weakens and lowers the force of the truth asserted. The difficulty of dealing with the word is clearly seen in the notion of some writers that "openly" must mean "before men and angels at the resurrection of the just," about which, at the time, our Lord was neither speaking nor thinking. A good point, and one which is practically important, is this: sincere and humble piety, finding gracious expression in kindly, thoughtful, generous, and self-denying service, will be sure to gain open and public recognition. Christian goodness is no violet "born to blush unseen, and waste its sweetness on the desert air." Men want that Christian goodness in all the life-spheres; and they are quick enough at recognizing it when they see it.
I. CHRISTLY-TONED CHARITIES WIN MEN'S ADMIRATION. We are all keen enough to discern the differences in gifts. We qualify our admiration when we recognize giving on mere impulse; or to get credit; or to outdo others; or to bring business. We keep our highest admiration for evident cases of self-denial, simple benevolence, and Christian principle. Those who abuse Christianity admire the Christian charity which it inspires.
II. CHRISTLY-TONED CHARITIES WIN MEN'S CONFIDENCE. This is clearly shown in the very patent fact that, whenever there is a local or a national calamity, application is first made for help to the Christian people. There is a universal public confidence that, if any good work needs to be done, the Christians will be found ready for the doing. This is their open reward. Place, influence, power, in every generation comes into the hands of the sincerely good; and in this way God gives the reward which men are ever seeking, to those who do not seek it. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.