But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:3-4
I like the wordplay Jesus uses here…”do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” You know, the only way to keep a secret so well is to make it part of you. Not in a malicious way; not in a deceitful way. Instead, if you want to keep the confidence trusted to you, ingrain it into your memory, even your sub-consciousness, and keep it there. In that way, your left hand can do one thing while your right does another.
This isn’t to be deceptive. This isn’t because we’re so trustworthy and keep secrets so well. And this isn’t because we are so physically coordinated. It’s so that God sees what we do and others don’t, so that He may share His blessings with us.
Again, it isn’t to be deceitful. It’s to be genuine. If we keep our giving quiet, the way Jesus and Bob Dole and Keanu Reeves and Elvis Presley and most people who have ever tithed did, then it demonstrates true generosity. It isn’t all for show; it isn’t phony or selfish or just for the free publicity. If we give because we know it pleases God, because we know He will work through our gift to bless other people, because we know it will help someone else, then it will warm God’s heart. God rewards those who do such things in ways that warm their hearts, too.
And, if we give just to be seen? We get what we deserve.
A word about ‘the reward system.’ It isn’t inherently sinful to want God to reward us. Jesus PROMISED that God would reward us for right-minded giving (giving done to glorify God, not self). The ultimate reward is eternal life in Him, and that’s guaranteed by having faith in Him. Yet is that the only reward? Satisfaction, love, peace, honor; all those come with doing what Jesus says here. Financial gain, prosperity, status, more: those might happen too, but circumstances differ as do tangible blessings. That’s up to the Lord; ask Him, not me.
The best reward? Knowing it makes the Lord happy. That WILL result in a reward of blessing that can change your life for good as well as those around you. Jesus promises God will reward us in such ways, so it’s reasonable and proper to expect it will happen.
Try it out for yourself. Ask God to show you someone to whom you can give, then do it. Watch what happens when your heart fills with the understanding of what God does through you. It will be much more than a play on words.
For more reading: Colossians 3:23-24, Matthew 6:5
Tell me today, Lord, who I may serve with Your help.