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Matthew 6:3-4 meaning...

When Jesus urges us not to let our left hand know what our right hand does, He's not prescribing a literal physical separation of our limbs. Instead, He paints a vivid metaphor for discreet and unostentatious giving. In a practical sense, it's a call to humility and genuine kindness, urging us to perform acts of mercy without seeking personal recognition or applause.

  • The Secret Nature of Mercy:

The phrase "so that your merciful deeds may be in secret" serves as a cornerstone of Jesus' teachings on charity. It's a call to secrecy in the most noble sense—a secrecy not rooted in concealment but in sincerity. This challenges the human tendency to seek attention or praise for acts of goodness. Jesus, in the preceding verses (Matthew 6:1-2), warns against practicing righteousness for public acclaim, setting the stage for a deeper exploration of the heart's posture in giving.

  • Divine Recognition and Open Rewards:

The promise that follows is transformative: "then your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly." Here, Jesus introduces a paradigm shift in understanding success and recognition. The emphasis is not on the fleeting acknowledgment of the world but on the enduring approval of our heavenly Father. The open rewards from God transcend earthly measures of success, and they are bestowed openly—perhaps not immediately visible to the world, but certainly in the eyes of the Divine.

  • Our Heart Motivation in Giving:

As we reflect on these verses, we're compelled to examine the motivations behind our charitable actions. It's an invitation to introspection—Are our acts of kindness rooted in a genuine desire to help, or are they tainted by the allure of public approval? This question echoes the broader biblical theme of the heart as the wellspring of our actions (Proverbs 4:23).

  • Humility and Sincerity:

The metaphor of the left hand not knowing what the right hand does encapsulates the essence of humility and sincerity. It discourages the desire for self-glory in acts of mercy. This aligns seamlessly with the apostle Paul's exhortation in Philippians 2:3-4, urging believers to "do nothing through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself," fostering an environment of genuine care for others.

  • Secrecy and Divine Approval:

The call to secrecy in charitable deeds is not a withdrawal from the world but an intimate connection between the giver and God. It's a recognition that, ultimately, our acts of mercy are seen by our heavenly Father. This echoes the sentiments of Psalm 139:1-4, which beautifully expresses that God knows our thoughts and actions intimately, reinforcing the idea that our deeds in secret are not hidden from Him.

  • Open Rewards from God:

The promise of open rewards from God introduces a new dimension of success. It redirects our focus from earthly recognition, which can be fleeting and subjective, to the divine approval that transcends temporal measures. This aligns with the teachings of Jesus elsewhere, such as in Matthew 16:26, where He questions the ultimate value of gaining the whole world at the expense of one's soul.

As we navigate the intricacies of Matthew 6:3-4, we are beckoned into a profound understanding of charity—one that transcends performative acts for public applause. These verses challenge us to recalibrate our perspective, fostering a sincere and humble heart that seeks divine approval. The emphasis on secrecy is not a call to isolation but an invitation to genuine, heartfelt giving that resonates with the eternal affirmation of our heavenly Father.

See also: vs 1& 6

Matthew 6:3-4. “When you do merciful deeds, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand does, so that your merciful deeds may be in secret, then your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”


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