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Matthew 6:3-4 (ESV)
“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.
Personal privacy has become a desired expectation within the twenty-first century. Whether in the arenas of banking, entertainment, medical care or shopping, people increasingly desire to do what they please away from the watchful eye of neighbors, corporations or governments.
Although Jesus was speaking in a very different setting in Matthew 6, He appeared to advocate for some level of privacy and discretion when giving financially. Now, he wasn’t against collection baskets or giving tithes and offerings the presence of the gathered congregation. Instead, he was addressing the underlying attitude of the heart.
God-honoring giving is to be done without any desire for recognition from others. Generous actions are to be accomplished without even giving our own minds a chance to stroke our ego and entertain self-exalting pride.
In fact, financial giving should flow so naturally from a disciple of Jesus that it simply passes along to the recipient without drawing much attention at all.
In this way, giving towards the work of the Lord and needs of others ought to be a ‘private’ matter.
However, there is One who sees and knows all that is given, all that is spent, all that is saved and all that is squandered. Jesus clearly communicated with His disciples that God the Father sees everything.
Throughout the Scriptures, God is depicted as ‘omniscient’ (which means ‘all-knowing’). In other words, nothing has ever occurred, nor ever will occur, in human history which lies beyond His field of vision.
David reflected upon this as he was inspired to ask, “Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Where shall I flee from Your presence?” The Holy Spirit proceeded to identify that even if David ascended to heaven or descended to the pit, God would be there. If he hid in the depths of the ocean or covered himself in darkness, the Lord would still see (Psalm 139:7-12).
Without question, there are no secrets which are kept from a Sovereign God. That reality can either be terrifying or freeing.
For those who prefer discretion in life because of sinful and self-centered activities, the thought of an all-seeing Lord can be quite burdensome – especially in light of what Jesus said in Luke 12. “Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops” (Lk 12:2-3). In other words, everything labeled under ‘personal privacy’ will someday be a public declaration.
However, for those who live with integrity for the glory of God, the Lord’s omniscience can be quite comforting. He knows the destination of every dollar which passes through yours hands.
In the end, not only is He the ‘Divine Accountant’ who tracks all giving, but He is the gracious giver who will reward all acts of generosity.
Father, help us to live and give in a way which exalts You as the Sovereign God. Through Jesus, Amen.