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Giving in Secret

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 done in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  Matthew 6:3-4 NIV

Working for a local university’s charitable foundation, I processed thousands of donations each year.

What surprised me more than donors’ immense generosity was the varying expectations they held regarding the recognition they desired for their giving. Some politely requested their donations remain anonymous. Desiring nothing in return, they did not want their name listed on donor rolls, on invitations to ritzy galas, or on any awards. Other donors did not feel they had been recognized enough. Some even threatened to refrain from sending another cent if the foundation did not make them feel more appreciated for their generosity.

In teaching His followers how to give, Jesus denounced those who gave with skewed motives in the synagogues and streets. Seeking recognition and honor from others, they ensured others saw their giving so they could lavish them with praise. Jesus says our giving should be done in secret so that not even our left hand will know what the right hand is doing. Then we will be rewarded.

While acknowledgment from others for our giving may feel good at the moment, it is fleeting. The greatest and most fulfilling reward is the eternal reward from our Father in heaven who sees everything. When we give with an authentic desire to honor Him and help others, we please Him.

When we give our money, time, or talents to those in need, we should reflect upon the motivation for our generosity. Is it to be seen by others, to garner recognition from those around us, or to feel esteemed? Or is our intent to bless another?

Ask the Holy Spirit to help reveal the motives of your heart and to remind you that you serve an audience of One who sees all, including that which is done in secret. 

(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)

(For more devotions, visit Christian Devotions.)

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Emily Marszalek

Emily Marszalek enjoys the simple pleasures in life with her best friend, Nick, and their two Goldendoodles, Charlie and Lucy, in the Pacific Northwest. Her writings have appeared in publications including Angels on Earth, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Listen to Your Dreams, Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Blessings of Christmas, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Kindness Matters, CBN.com, The Lutheran Digest, Refresh Bible Study Magazine, Daily Inspired Life, and Insight