I’ll have an occasional one-liner. I’m fairly efficient as solving riddles. And, at times, I can get away with an antic or two. (Are you still nodding from earlier?)
However, no matter how hard I try, and no matter how clever I can be, I have yet to be able to put one over on myself. For some reason, I am always aware of the shenanigans that I am trying to be sneaky about. Even when I am at my most devious, I am horrible at hiding things.
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. (Matthew 6:3-4 NIV)
No matter how careful I am, my right hand cannot seem to do anything without my left hand finding out. And if that is supposed to be the goal, why is it that I have trouble keeping other people from hearing about my good deeds? Is it even my fault that others happen to find out about every single good thing that I do for others? Why yes, yes it is.
When we break this command from Christ, we usually try to dress it up like something else. Maybe it’s a prayer request, perhaps it is to promote “our favorite charity,” or maybe we even do it as a request for help. Whatever form it takes, it seems that we all too often find a way to let our giving be known. Yet, we are supposed to keep it so close to the chest that we forget about it ourselves.
Why are we so bad at this? The answer is easy: pride, recognition, notoriety, whatever you want to call it. It makes us feel good to have others praise us for our good deeds. Even others knowing how generous we, even if they don't applaud us, are can help us feel more accomplished.
The sooner we all put a sock in it, the better off we will all be. The sooner we realize that giving is not about us, the more readily we will be able to give. The more we put the focus on meeting the needs of others and less on our own contributions, the more people we will be able to help.
So let’s all work on keeping our giving a private matter. I’ll start. Come on, left hand. Let’s shut the right hand up.