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Right-handed Giving
Photo: Maxime Perron Caissy
Jesus offers some powerful advice for giving in Matthew 6, warning His listeners against giving in a showy, self-glorifying manner. Instead, Jesus makes this recommendation in verses 3 and 4: “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.”

As I recently read these verses, I recalled a beautiful act of giving bestowed upon my husband and I almost three years ago. Approaching the birth of our second child, life’s unexpected twists and turns threw us for a bit of a loop, leaving us somewhat less than financially secure. God never failed to meet our needs, and we tried not to complain, but I suppose our tight budget showed nonetheless.

The Envelope

One Sabbath after fellowship dinner, our church family graciously threw us a baby shower, setting us up with diapers and clothes for our expected arrival. Afterward, as my husband stood alone in the parking lot loading gifts into the back of our car, a church member approached him. We knew this gentleman, but not exceptionally well, and we certainly did not expect to receive an exceptional gift from him. Jim* handed my husband an envelope, saying simply that it was just a little something for us and to please keep the gift quiet. He then added, “I’d really prefer that you didn’t even tell my left hand about it!” Later, in the car, we discovered Jim’s unpretentious envelope contained a check for $200.00—a much needed and much appreciated gift.

Jim is a caring and generous Christian, but he is also a bit eccentric in the way he approaches life and the way he expresses himself. At the moment, I thought nothing of his unusual “left hand” comment, except that it was different and that was just Jim. Even though I was familiar with Matthew 6, somehow it never crossed my mind until much later that Jim referred to and desired to practice Jesus’ advice for giving.

We immediately wrote Jim a heartfelt thank-you note, but I know the true reward for his humble generosity will come from God.

*Not his real name.

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By Hannah Henry. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ® 2007.

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