Matthew 6:3 But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
How can we do that? The word translated “alms” means charitable acts or giving. How can I keep secrets from my left hand? I realize this is an idiom for secrecy in Jesus' culture, but it is an interesting metaphor, and may teach us more about how our mind should work than we see at first glance.
After I spoke in public speaking class for the first time, my professor said, “Your gestures were excellent, gesturing will help keep people interested in what you're saying, so keep it up.” I was surprised... everything else in that exercise was planned. I had prepared notes, illustrations, the introduction, the ending... but I didn't plan any gestures. In fact, I had never thought of gesturing before... it was, and is, something I do involuntarily. I am one of those people who uses my hands to talk. With me it is a sure thing that my left hand doesn't know what my right hand is doing most the time.
Could it be that a person's charitable acts and giving can become so much a part of who they are that they don't even think about it... they just do it? That each caring act becomes an involuntary result of a decision to love made at an earlier time which has now become their soul's passion? A love that now defines them. Each action flowing invisibly from a mind and heart that is overwhelmed by love. Could I come to a place in life where someone says, “Your care for that person is amazing!” and in return I give them a confused glance, because the care I give is as involuntary for me as breathing or gesturing. If I think about it at all it is to wonder, “Doesn't everyone do this?” like “Doesn't everyone breath?” Or, now that this person has moved my attention to my actions, I chide myself for not doing more... a bit embarrassed because my actions seem so small and inconsequential compared to my love.
Do you think Jesus thinks about helping you through your difficulties, or does He help because He decided to love you so long ago, and His heart will allow Him to do nothing less? Is His care for us an involuntary action that flows out of His love for us? Is He overwhelmed with love for us? Is an act of love from a Being described as “love” in 1 John 4:8 and then again in 1 John 4:16 something He thinks about? Or is it an involuntary act pressed from a heart overwhelmed by love?
I am privileged to know people whose acts of charity seem to involuntarily flow from love. When I complement their obvious sacrifice they dismiss it with a wave of the hand. They seem to be an embodiment of “when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.”