The Value Of Quiet Benevolence Matt. 6:1-4 Warren E. Berkley


An irritable brother who always kept some grievance or issue loaded, called a meeting with the preacher and four elders of the local church he belonged to.


He leaped right into his complaint, arguing that all five brethren made a good living, drove late model cars and lived in nice homes, yet, he argued: “You don’t ever share your good fortune.” His audience listened patiently and then after the outburst, one of the elders said: “How do you know we do not share?” There was no answer. Apparently the agitated brother assumed they didn’t, or wanted to believe they were miserly. The elder calmly explained, putting an end to the event: “God does not expect us to prove to you or to anyone the extent of our benevolence. In fact, the larger amount of one’s benevolence will not be known. In support of this, he read Matt. 6:1-4, and the meeting ended.”


The story illustrates, among other things, a common misunderstanding of individual benevolence. The purpose is not to satisfy witnesses, elicit the applause of men, or prove anything to distractors. One’s sharing ought to be so private and unpublicized, when the right hand gives, the left hand has no idea. It should be as Harriet Beecher Stowe once wrote of someone she believed had the spirit of Jesus. She said of this person, that “He had a habit of quiet benevolence,” doing more good silently than was common of most people in their public charity. {Life and Letters of Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1897}


I read one time of a mystery unfolding in the world of college fundraising. “During the past few weeks, at least nine universities have received gifts totaling more than $45 million, and the schools had to promise not to try to find out the giver’s identity,” (AP, Apr. 16, 2009). I have no idea how this story will develop over the future. It may turn out that some individual or group of individuals are engaged in quiet benevolence, determined to avoid the typical praise of public, ostentatious giving. I hope so. Nevertheless . . .


I don’t know so much about “random acts of kindness,” but I’m entirely convinced of the value of quiet benevolence. Are you a quiet giver? There is rich spiritual value in this kind of giving. Value for you and the recipient, and “with such sacrifices, God is well pleased,” (Heb. 13:16).


Listen to Jesus again:


“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.” Matt. 6:1-4

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