Journal Entry // May 28, 2023
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. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (ESV)Matthew 6:3–4
Jesus is here continuing his thought on giving to the needy. Having just explained that we should not announce our giving to bring acclaim or praise to ourselves and therefore receive our reward as the hypocrite does, Jesus tells us that we should give to the poor in secret and thus receive our reward from God alone. First, we must see that Jesus is making the assumption that we will be generous in our giving to the poor. It is not some random act of kindness that we haphazardly give when we feel the need. Jesus is assuming that we will be a generous people who are giving to the poor and needy. Second, we must not mistake giving in secret to mean that we should never let anyone know about our gift. The contrast in this statement is with the person who gives by announcing the gift with trumpets. We are to be a people who give our gifts without fanfare and without expectation of receiving praise and adulation from the people around us. Our giving should be done naturally and without fanfare. It should be done for the praise of God alone.
The point Jesus is making here is that we should be focused on giving to please our heavenly Father as we give of his blessing in our life as a sacrifice to him. Not letting the left hand know what the right is doing is simply a matter of giving from my heart without the need for acknowledgment. The hypocrite that Jesus mentioned earlier is one who is giving with the appearance of humility and piety but in actuality is seeking the glory due to God for himself. This hypocrite is giving with his right hand while his left hand is seeking attention. His left hand has taken a beautiful God-honoring gift to the poor and made it about the man himself. He is a hypocrite as he portrays a heart of piety but is secretly stealing praise and glory from God.
I am to be the opposite. I am to be a generous giver that gives without my left hand knowing what is going on. I am to give with the intention of giving to bless the recipient of the gift and honor Christ through my sacrifice. I am to give without any expectation. No expectation of acknowledgment. No expectation of a return gift. No expectation of praise. I am only wanting to give of the tremendous blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon me and be more like him.
This is the giving in secret that Jesus is talking about. My secret giving means that the gift is actually for my Savior. He has given me an abundance of grace that abounds in my life without limits. I am not giving anything that I already possess; I am only giving away that which was given to me. When I am announcing my gift in the street for the applause of man, I am seeking to garner the praise and glory of God for myself. When I am giving as a hypocrite, I am wanting everyone to know that I earned my resources and I am the one who is giving them away.
Jesus is calling me to humility. He is calling me to give generously of the time, the talents, and the treasure that he has chosen to freely bestow upon me at this moment. I cannot give as a hypocrite does because I should understand that none of this is mine to give. Do I think I have earned the money that is in my bank account? Do I think it is by my wise management that I am financially secure? No, the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. I plan my steps but the Lord provides the outcome. Proverbs tell us that we are to prepare the horse for war, but the Lord provides the victory. I am to be a humble servant that truly understands that in every circumstance, the Lord has provided exactly what I need at that moment. Whether it is lacking in my eyes, just right, or an abundance, the Father gives as he desires.
So my takeaway from this is to give generously of the resources that the Father has given me. Give and give freely. Give with a humble heart that is content and satisfied in Jesus. Give to bless others with the resources I have been given and blessed. Give to those in need to honor the One who so generously gave to me. Give to everyone to share the love of Christ and demonstrate his abundant grace and mercy that is free to all who come to Jesus.