Friday, May 21, 2021

The Vision (5.21.21): Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth


Image: Butterfly bush, North Garden, Virginia, May, 2021

Note: This devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 6:1-4.

But when thou doest alms, let not thy right hand know what thy left hand doeth (Matthew 6:3).

Notice that Christ here expect that giving alms (gifts to the poor) will be a regular spiritual discipline, an act of piety, among believers.

One commentator offers this explanation of v. 3: “The meaning of this expression is that a person, having done a good deed, must forget about it as soon as possible, neither announcing it nor taking pride in it” (Alfeyev, The Sermon on the Mount, 221).

Can you imagine your right hand doing something and your right hand not knowing it? This is about self-forgetfulness. It is about doing what is right and good without even being consciously aware of what you are doing—certainly doing this not to be seen of men but to honor only the Lord.

When I read this verse, I thought of Christ’s parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25. When Christ tells the sheep that he was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me to drink, a stranger and you took me in, naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to me, the sheep respond, “Lord, when saw we thee….?” (vv. 37-39). They were not even aware of the good that they had done!

To such does Christ say, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundations of the world” (Matt 25:34).

So also here Christ concludes, “That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly” (v. 4).

This verse reminds me of one of the great omni-attributes of the Lord. He is omnipotent (all powerful); omni-present (all present or present everywhere); omni-benevolent (all good); and he is omniscient (all knowing).

The godly man realizes that he does not need to do what is good and right in order to gain the recognition of men, but he is confident that the Lord sees all, knows all, and will, in the end, reward all.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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