We are being blessed with an over-abundance of vegetables from my husband’s garden: eggplant, cucumber, banana peppers–no tomatoes yet, though. We can’t consume all this, so I took some to my place of employment, placed it in a box with a ‘Free’ sign, and notified any interested customers to help themselves. It’s been enjoyable to see how delighted and thankful they have been to have received this free gift.
Another outlet for the veggies has been our local food pantry, located in a church just a few blocks away from my house. Last week was the first time I dropped off the extras, and when I placed the bags on the counter in the small room where volunteers were helping those who came for food, the man asked me, “What is your name?” I asked, “Why do you want my name?” (Me, always suspicious…) He said, “So we can give you credit.” I waived the offer of credit, and went on my way, but immediately began thinking of all the things we/I do where I have and haven’t received ‘credit’. The Bible tells us when giving, “not to let our left hand know what our right hand is doing.” (Matthew 6:3).
We don’t need to put on a show of our good works: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.”
I’ve received credit and thanks for various acts of giving, and I have to admit, it does give a warm and fuzzy feeling to have one’s good works acknowledged, although, sometimes it’s a little awkward too. I thought of various good deeds I’ve done in the past, such as the time I ________, and all those_________ I distributed to neighbors. Also, the time I dropped off ________________ to some people who I thought might need a day brightened, and the times I mailed ____________ to a struggling family, and the simple little __________ I made and handed out, and… Of course, I could go on and on, and even mentioning these things here, I’ve ‘tooted my horn’ to the World Wide Web. So, I shall hush and speak no more about such things!
But I have to share just one more time about my second trip to the food pantry today (outta my way…. blasting my horn… comin‘ through here... see me! see me! see what I am doing!). When I again dropped off the bags of veggies, the man asked, “What is your name?” And again I asked, “Why?” He replied, “So we can put your name in the book...” I told him that was not necessary, and he said I could remain “anonymous”, as there were “many with that same name”. “…so that your giving will be in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:4
As I walked out the door, I couldn’t help but laugh to myself when I thought of my name being placed in ‘the book’. I should have said, “My name is already in The Book! The Lamb’s Book of Life!” Isn’t it wonderful to know that our righteousness is not dependent on our good deeds? And that God is the judge of our hearts and motives; we don’t have to make a show before others, nor are others the judge of where we will spend eternity.
I have an Aunt who once confided in me that she would become so exasperated with her husband because he was often ignoring his own duties and needs and instead would help others in need. Yet, since her husband has passed away, so many have come to her side to assist and help her. Our faithful, gracious, and loving Lord God noticed all that Uncle did for others, and He rewarded the wife in her time of need.
No need to shout and make a fuss, no call for blaring trumpets and colorful waving flags, or even a noting of one’s name in ‘the book’. God has it covered! We can rest knowing that the One who knows everything is the only One we need ‘impress’.