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Give in secret — Let God get the thanks

“Don’t practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them,” and “whenever you give to the poor, don’t sound a trumpet before you” are instructions from Jesus on how to give. It’s obvious that Jesus called for secret giving, reminding his followers that God always sees the person giving, and He will reward you.

The world’s trend in giving is at the opposite pole from God’s way. Names are inscribed on gifts, receipts requested and public name recognition appears in printed forms. Gift-giving surely doesn’t mean something we do in secret, does it?

I was once a member of a Sunday School class that promoted a secret pal project for a year. We each drew a name, kept it confidential and “slipped” surprise gifts to that person throughout the year. Some pals went over and beyond depositing lovely gifts, taking thought concerning the appropriate gift for her pal.

The pattern might have been what Jesus was describing except at the end of the year, we each identified our secret pal. We lapsed in the area of keeping the secret.

The secret gift-giving has to come from the heart of God because He gives untold amount of gifts that we don’t realize are from Him. It’s sad that luck gets most of the credit for positive gifts in our lives. Then there’s bad luck that everyone wants to avoid.

Actually there’s no such thing as luck — not even in carrying a rabbit’s foot or finding a four-leaf clover. God is sovereign over all people, and in his mysterious ways allows or sends the “good and bad” in our lives.

Explanations run deep and wide while finite minds try to understand the infinite. Trust is always the best option.

I sometimes wonder if we will ever know all the secret gifts God has given us. Did we really miss our travel connection or was it God’s way of protecting us? Did we face disappointment so that God could grow our faith? Was the storm a gift that would press the unbeliever into turning to God? Was a shocking job loss really a loss or a gift that God sent to place us in an even better position? Was the health setback a grim shadow or a gift that opened our eyes to others who are suffering?

Every kindness we ever receive may come from a living, breathing creature, but those creatures only served as channels for God’s sending the kindness. According to a verse in James, every good and perfect gift is from the Father. So many are secrets, but only because we don’t use our spiritual eyes to see them.

It would be a refreshing challenge to enter in some secret giving. Without the recipient knowing the origin of the gift, it would be nice to know they thanked God for whoever sent it. They would rejoice in the gift, and we would rejoice in the giving — and God would see it all.

Letters to Camille Anding can be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602, or e-mailed to camilleanding@gmail.com.