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Thread: Secret Giving as Opposed to Public Giving

  1. #11
    Professor KingsGambit's Avatar
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    The obvious passage that comes to mind here is Matthew 6:1-4:

    Be careful not to perform your righteous acts before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
    So when you give to the needy, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be praised by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    However, I just thought of another passage that might suggest a less strict interpretation: 2 Corinthians 9:5. Paul talks about a gift that was "promised" by the Corinthian church to the poor believers in Macedonia. Clearly there had to be some discussion/coordination of how that gift was put together, especially since Paul knew it was coming ahead of time. In a church context that sort of makes sense. A church needs pledges from people so they know how much to budget for. The heart reason for why people pledge/give is still important there. So I don't know how that all is going to fit in with what Jesus said about charitable giving.

    Maybe a good question to ask would be "would I still do this if nobody ever found out about it", and if there's any hesitation at all there, there's a heart problem.
    For what was given to everyone for the use of all, you have taken for your exclusive use. The earth belongs not to the rich, but to everyone. - Ambrose, 4th century AD

    All cruelty springs from weakness. - Seneca the Younger

  2. #12
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    yeah that seems odd. As long as you could show her that you collected $25K that should be sufficient for her. What difference would it make who gave what?
    I'm not sure if that was just her way of trying to back out, or she didn't trust the people at the Church who were serving as trustees.... we did that all "legit" with setting up a separate bank account, having a board of directors, consulting with banking people, CPAs, etc.... Or maybe she's just nutty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingsGambit View Post
    Maybe a good question to ask would be "would I still do this if nobody ever found out about it", and if there's any hesitation at all there, there's a heart problem.
    This is pretty much why I do it anonymously if possible, because I know myself and I know just how self-centered I am....
    Hofstadter's Law: It will always take longer than you expect, even if you take into account Hofstadter's Law.

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  4. Amen Sparko amen'd this post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingsGambit View Post
    The obvious passage that comes to mind here is Matthew 6:1-4:

    Be careful not to perform your righteous acts before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
    So when you give to the needy, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be praised by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

    However, I just thought of another passage that might suggest a less strict interpretation: 2 Corinthians 9:5. Paul talks about a gift that was "promised" by the Corinthian church to the poor believers in Macedonia. Clearly there had to be some discussion/coordination of how that gift was put together, especially since Paul knew it was coming ahead of time. In a church context that sort of makes sense. A church needs pledges from people so they know how much to budget for. The heart reason for why people pledge/give is still important there. So I don't know how that all is going to fit in with what Jesus said about charitable giving.

    Maybe a good question to ask would be "would I still do this if nobody ever found out about it", and if there's any hesitation at all there, there's a heart problem.
    But this thing is multi-faceted. There's the individual (or entity) who/that needs help, and the "heart" of the giver doesn't matter to them, they get helped regardless. For the "giver", though, there can be the 'earthly' satisfaction of knowing they did a good thing. In your 'proof text' (which is exactly what I suspected), I don't think it's so much a warning to not give publicly, but to understand it's all about motives. The "sounding the trumpet", I think, is the key --- if you're ONLY doing it for earthly recognition, that's all you'll get.

    If you go really literally on this, KG, what do you do about the early Church selling things and giving the money to the apostles for distribution? It's kinda hard to do that secretly, but, at the same time, it wasn't a "hey everybody, look what I'm doing" thing.

    I appreciate you taking the time to engage in this, because I think sometimes we really oversimplify this whole thing.

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

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    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingsGambit View Post
    The obvious passage that comes to mind here is Matthew 6:1-4:

    Be careful not to perform your righteous acts before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
    So when you give to the needy, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be praised by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
    The relevant phrases highlighted above. Don't do good for selfish reasons.


    Maybe a good question to ask would be "would I still do this if nobody ever found out about it", and if there's any hesitation at all there, there's a heart problem.
    yep.

    I usually try to give anonymously when possible just to avoid the problem.

  7. #16
    Professor KingsGambit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    But this thing is multi-faceted. There's the individual (or entity) who/that needs help, and the "heart" of the giver doesn't matter to them, they get helped regardless. For the "giver", though, there can be the 'earthly' satisfaction of knowing they did a good thing. In your 'proof text' (which is exactly what I suspected), I don't think it's so much a warning to not give publicly, but to understand it's all about motives. The "sounding the trumpet", I think, is the key --- if you're ONLY doing it for earthly recognition, that's all you'll get.

    If you go really literally on this, KG, what do you do about the early Church selling things and giving the money to the apostles for distribution? It's kinda hard to do that secretly, but, at the same time, it wasn't a "hey everybody, look what I'm doing" thing.

    I appreciate you taking the time to engage in this, because I think sometimes we really oversimplify this whole thing.
    The example of the early church seems like a good example of some people doing it for the wrong reasons. We know what Ananias and Sapphira did, and why they did it (for show).

    I agree in many cases it's going to be impossible to do it totally anonymously. I still think we can apply what Jesus said though, by not going out of our way to publicize what we do - by not telling people who aren't directly involved, for instance, and not waiting until other people are around to do it.

    I was guilty of something like this the other day at work. There was a high school kid in the town where I work last weekwho was suicidal, and the cops got called, and he tried to kill an officer when they responded. He ended up being fatally shot, and the family predictably got an outpouring of letters and cards. Somebody forgot to put enough postage, so the family got a postage due notice on one of the cards. The family lived on the route I did that day. I decided to pay for it myself (only 42 cents) so the family didn't have to bother with it. Stupidly, I told several of my co-workers what I had done, and I still feel sick and selfish about it. I had the wrong motives. So it's something that's been on my own mind.
    For what was given to everyone for the use of all, you have taken for your exclusive use. The earth belongs not to the rich, but to everyone. - Ambrose, 4th century AD

    All cruelty springs from weakness. - Seneca the Younger

  8. #17
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingsGambit View Post
    The example of the early church seems like a good example of some people doing it for the wrong reasons. We know what Ananias and Sapphira did, and why they did it (for show).

    I agree in many cases it's going to be impossible to do it totally anonymously. I still think we can apply what Jesus said though, by not going out of our way to publicize what we do - by not telling people who aren't directly involved, for instance, and not waiting until other people are around to do it.

    I was guilty of something like this the other day at work. There was a high school kid in the town where I work last weekwho was suicidal, and the cops got called, and he tried to kill an officer when they responded. He ended up being fatally shot, and the family predictably got an outpouring of letters and cards. Somebody forgot to put enough postage, so the family got a postage due notice on one of the cards. The family lived on the route I did that day. I decided to pay for it myself (only 42 cents) so the family didn't have to bother with it. Stupidly, I told several of my co-workers what I had done, and I still feel sick and selfish about it. I had the wrong motives. So it's something that's been on my own mind.

    For the sarcastically impaired the following is said in jest


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  9. #18
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingsGambit View Post
    The example of the early church seems like a good example of some people doing it for the wrong reasons. We know what Ananias and Sapphira did, and why they did it (for show).
    EGGzackly - like so many things in the spiritual world, it's as much (if not more) about the motive than the act.

    I agree in many cases it's going to be impossible to do it totally anonymously. I still think we can apply what Jesus said though, by not going out of our way to publicize what we do - by not telling people who aren't directly involved, for instance, and not waiting until other people are around to do it.
    Yeah, by "not going out of our way" to publicize. But I don't think we have to "go out of our way" to make it secret, either.

    I was guilty of something like this the other day at work. There was a high school kid in the town where I work last weekwho was suicidal, and the cops got called, and he tried to kill an officer when they responded. He ended up being fatally shot, and the family predictably got an outpouring of letters and cards. Somebody forgot to put enough postage, so the family got a postage due notice on one of the cards. The family lived on the route I did that day. I decided to pay for it myself (only 42 cents) so the family didn't have to bother with it. Stupidly, I told several of my co-workers what I had done, and I still feel sick and selfish about it. I had the wrong motives. So it's something that's been on my own mind.
    Sure, there are a lot of things like that that we can simply do, and nobody knows.

    In fact, the best definition of "character" I ever heard is "who you are in the dark". Or, when nobody's watching.

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

  10. Amen Sparko amen'd this post.
  11. #19
    Professor KingsGambit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    But I don't think we have to "go out of our way" to make it secret, either.
    On this minor point I'll have to disagree. I think when Jesus says "let not your left hand know what you're right is doing", he is talking about making an active effort to conceal. I agree with everything else you said though.
    For what was given to everyone for the use of all, you have taken for your exclusive use. The earth belongs not to the rich, but to everyone. - Ambrose, 4th century AD

    All cruelty springs from weakness. - Seneca the Younger

  12. #20
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingsGambit View Post
    On this minor point I'll have to disagree. I think when Jesus says "let not your left hand know what you're right is doing", he is talking about making an active effort to conceal. I agree with everything else you said though.
    But that was because --- "If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven."

    If it's the right thing to do, am I really worried whether I get my reward 'here' or 'yonder'? I think it's more important to help where needed than to worry about how I'll be rewarded for it. Again, I think you really need to look at the context - to whom Jesus was speaking, and why he was saying what He did.

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

  13. Amen ke7ejx, Christianbookworm amen'd this post.

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