Read Matthew 6:1-4
I had not thought of this in 30 years, but I’m smiling as I remember it now. A person had given us a very generous financial gift. We were very touched when we received the check from the church secretary. The donor? Anonymous. Even more touching. I prepared to write a thank you note anyway, to let the secretary pass on to the special friend.
Not long afterwards, a person came up to me in the church hallway.
“Did you get my gift?”
“Excuse me?” I asked.
“The anonymous gift,” they offered. “It was from me!”
I smiled and thanked them profoundly for the money. It’s hard not to toot your own horn. I mean, why have a horn, if not to make it sound? Why do good, if no one sees it? After all, how will people know you’re a good person?
Jesus called people hypocrites who liked to blow their trumpets of good works. Why? Weren’t they helping the needy? Wasn’t that important?
The problem was not in the act itself, but in the motivation. Their’s was to be honored by men. There was no sincere care for the poor. It was for their own egos.
However, Jesus takes it even further in what he requires of me. He doesn’t just want my motivation to be right, he doesn’t want anyone to know about it. Not even my left hand!
What in the world does that mean? How can I hide a good work from myself?
I’m thinking hard about this and asking myself: “What would keep my left hand from knowing what my right hand was doing?
It comes to me.
When love for others is a natural outpouring of my relationship with Christ, then I do things for others without giving it a second thought. I give an anonymous gift and forget I gave it. I buy a meal for a homeless person and don’t remember what he’s talking about the next time he sees me and thanks me. I share a kind word or give encouragement to a young person who’s struggling, and am shocked when they share years later that I was their mentor.
What? What did I do? I don’t remember doing anything special?
You don’t, because He did it through you. You just opened up yourself to being used by your heavenly Father. That’s when the reward comes, and only then.
So, the next time I do something kind or good for someone else and remember it, I’ll just remind myself that I’m not there yet. When I do good and don’t know it, is when I’ve reached his standard. I’ll know for sure in the end.
Till then, I’m working to do good and forget.
How’s your memory?