Let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Jeep Dragon, Aug 16, 2006.

  1. Jeep Dragon

    Jeep Dragon
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    Yes, we have heard many messages about giving, but most of the ones we here focus on how much or what percentage we give. Leaving such on the table for another thread, let's discuss the following passage.

    Jesus seems to focus on the manner in which one gives. One command He has given us that I have not heard mentioned much in giving sermons is to "let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth." This command seems to stand out amongst instructions to give unnoticed.

    I am very curious as to the meaning of not letting our left hand know what our right hand does and the overall application this is to our giving practices.
     
  2. Diggin in da Word

    Diggin in da Word
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    That verse just means 'don't brag about your deeds'
     
  3. Jeep Dragon

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    I think of "let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth" also having the idea of not "letting yourself know what you are giving."

    Idea: just open your wallet and give without really trying to concentrate on a specific amount. Like a "keep the change" attitude.
     
  4. rbell

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    for me personally, (not prescribing this for all) this means I choose to not claim any gifts for tax purposes. I give cash for everything. I put a "name" on the envelope I use...if anyone questions my giving as a staff member, I could tell our financial secretary, and she could vouch for me. That allows me to be accountable, but keep the spirit of this verse.

    Oh, and this verse puts a HUGE dent in many church's practice of letting folks give and have a plaque made on their "item." I hate that, and think it goes against the spirit of this verse.

    Then again, maybe I'm just a cranky old goat. :tongue3:
     
  5. Ransom

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    Jeep Dragon said:

    I am very curious as to the meaning of not letting our left hand know what our right hand does and the overall application this is to our giving practices.

    Jesus is condemning the hypocrites who trumpet their generosity in public so everyone can see how much they Care.

    By contrast, Jesus is saying that if we are going to give charity, just give it without concern with who sees you. Be discreet: in fact, you should be so discreet it's as if one side of your body doesn't know what the other side is doing. It's hyperbole. (Of course he doesn't mean you should treat your giving like a raffle by dipping into your wallet and slip whatever bills come up at random on the offering plate. Wise stewards keep track of their money.)
     
    #5 Ransom, Aug 16, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2006
  6. Jeep Dragon

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    No, you're not...

    I have the same pet peeve about claiming gifts for tax purposes.
    Most sermons I hear about giving always talk about putting "your check" into the plate. One of my friends talked about the fact that he always "pays his tithe" with checks so that he can claim it on his tax return.

    Since checks guarantee that the amount of money and who gave it is tracked down, I personally prefer to always give cash and try hard to avoid being seen giving. (not making sounds shoving hands in wallets or zipping up a purse). I keep my gift in my shirt pocket so that durring prayer before the offering, I can quietly slip it into my fist and drop it into the plate without anyone noticing.

    Remember, people, giving is between you and God. If you give in secret, God will reward you openly. Not that you seek the reward, but that you give out of your love for God.
     
  7. AresMan

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    I simply place cash in the basket, so I can't claim it for tax purposes. Should that motivate people to give? I also don't see the purpose of separating your gift into an envelope (unless you have to mark it so that it goes to a special project); that way everything just kind of assimilates into one pile, and no one knows how much anyone actually gave--only what the total is. :) No one knows how much the salary of an individual is (by assuming a check or an envelope is a calculated "tithe"). Everyone just contributes anonymously to the big picture... in an eerie, almost "communistic" sort of way. :p
     
  8. rbell

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    I feel strongly about how I do the giving thing...but if another person feels comfortable with the tax issue, OK by me. I think God knows I need my motives to be pure, and that might test them...
     
  9. rbell

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    I do realize that as a staff member, there is a bit of gray area regarding accountability. That is why I put a "name" on the envelope...if allows me to, if absolutely needed, show someone that I give. (though I can't think of too many scenarios where that would be necessary)
     
  10. AresMan

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    *** double post ***
     
    #10 AresMan, Aug 16, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 16, 2006
  11. Ransom

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    AresMan asked:

    I simply place cash in the basket, so I can't claim it for tax purposes. Should that motivate people to give?

    Well, part of the purpose of the tax break for charitable giving is to encourage people to donate money.

    Besides, Jesus said to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. If Caesar says that giving entitles me to a little tax credit, I don't see any moral problem with claiming it on my return.
     
  12. rbell

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    and I think that's fine. I have a feeling I'm of a "weaker conscience" in this area. Maybe my motive for giving goes sideways easier than some folks...so for me, there's an extra emphasis on "anonymous."
     
  13. LeBuick

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    In the past I put cash in the plate also. I now use a check with envelope.

    It must be unique to around here, but sometime I see pastors have all the $100 givers come around. Then the $50 etc... I will usually go with the general offering and still give the $100 or whatever they are asking for. I just don't want to be associated or give approval to that act.

    Billy Graham once said in regards to this verse, "God has given us two hands—one for receiving and the other for giving." I don't really go for it but it sounds like Graham.

    The spirit of giving or the heart by which one gives is important to God. One reason is if you give in your name, then God, who is the true provider of what you give does not get credit.

    I usually like to go back to Caan and Abel for this subject. One sacrifised and gave from the heart the first fruit. In other words he gave without even knowing if there would be enough left for himself but having trusting faith in God that he would supply here every need. The other examined the gift, checked out his financial situation and gave what he didn't want or "need". God does not need out left overs! What is God going to do with a bunch of old fruit or mangie animals? What is God going to do with a Dollar? Any Church that counts on your dollar is in the wrong relation with Christ. God is giving us the opportunity to do what is right, to give and obey his will and to be a blessing to our fellow man. I don't take this priviledge lightly...
     
  14. Ransom

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    rbell said:

    Maybe my motive for giving goes sideways easier than some folks...so for me, there's an extra emphasis on "anonymous."

    Well, even the early church's giving wasn't entirely anonymous. Look at the story of Ananias and Sapphira: the believers were bringing large sums of money to the apostles, who were keeping track (hence the basis of their question to Sapphira, proving that she and her husband had colluded to deceive the church).

    But I understand where you're coming from, and to an extent I agree. If I should forget to bring my church envelope, if I'm carrying my usual giving amount in cash, I just leave it on the plate. It's no big deal to me.
     
  15. Jeep Dragon

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    I don't know, but when it says "liberal" distribution I assume give without giving a care. People can give however they want as long as they do it cheerfully. Just be sure you give for the love you have for God. I'm just personally errie about having my gift to the church tracked down and being examined by the chruch and (concerning a tax relief) the government.

    Think of this scenario:
    If everyone in the church gave secretly and all in cash. The pastor has no clue who to favor and who not to favor regarding finances.
    If everyone gave by check and it was always 10% of their income. The pastor (if he's the accountant) can move the decimal point to the left one place and know how much each person earns in his congregation. Armed with this information, he has the temptation to treat certain people in certain ways (trying not to step on the toes of the rich one who supplies 50% of the total gifts.)

    Living by faith is believing that people will not muzzle the ox that treads the corn and counting them worthy of double honor who labor in the Lord. Since this principle is in the Bible, people who do not obey it are accounted to God for it anyways. God will supply all our needs according to his will. If a pastor is in the will of God, he can rest assured that God will fulfill his promises. Let the accountant deal with the frusterations with the ledgers :thumbs:
     
  16. AresMan

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    I see the point there and agree; nothing wrong with that. However, it also seems that some may refuse to give if they are not prepared to give by check. I notice some may give the monthly check faithfully for regular church expenses, yet a big missions project comes along, and if the checkbook is not there, nothing will come out, because it can't go on the records for tax purposes. I guess my point is balance and the possibility of being spontaneous should a need arise.
     
  17. blackbird

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    Ummmmmmm, Jeep Dragon----would you like to demonstrate that idea----Just open your wallet and give ----- to Blackbird-----without really trying to concentrate on a specific amount!!!!! And he'll even let you keep the change!!!!:laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
     
  18. lbaker

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    I guess the following sort of goes with the subject of giving, or at least generosity.

    What about tipping? I once heard a young lady give a "testimony" about a conversation she had with a waitress about what bad customers "church people" were. She talked about how restaurant workers preferred the drunks and party people on Friday and Saturday nights to the church-goers on Sunday afternoons because the drunks were much more generous and easier to get along with.

    A dear friend and brother made the comment "I only give God 10% so why should I give some waitress more than that?"

    Something's wrong with this picture I think.

    Seems to me that we should be showing the world a generous and open-handed Jesus.

    Les
     
  19. Jeep Dragon

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    God noes not need our "anything." God wants our hearts. I have heard a lot of "tithing" messages where the preacher explained that you are only to give something that you earned and it has to be a sacrifice. He said if you didn't earn it, God doesn't want it.

    I cannot find that in Scriptures. I see where God wants us to give cheerfully, period. If we get a million dollars for free somehow and cheerfully give it away without it hurting us financially, God will bless the cheerfull heart. Where in the Bible does it say that God does not need/want our leftovers. If all we give of our heart to God is our leftovers, then there is a problem. But if leftover "things" can be given cheerfully, God will bless even that.
     
  20. Jeep Dragon

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    Heh.

    I did not mean that in a litteral sense, but in a general sense.
    When the offering plate is ready to be passed, instead of the idea of "I will give $16.75, no more, no less" causing one to either count exact change or write such on a check. Just avoid the matter, find a $20 or so, say "oooo, a twenty! Hey, I'll give that! Wooo Hooo!"

    I know I'm stretching the idea, but the idea behind letting not your left hand know what your right hand does could possibly figuratively mean not to let yourself know how much you are giving as like how you wouldn't let someone else know.

    I don't know. It just seems like there is something implied by that statement.
     

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