But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Matthew 6:3 NIV
In the last two weeks of each year, our mailboxes, physical and virtual, are filled with donation requests. Even that organization you donated to in memorial of Aunt Sally two years ago now has us permanently on their mailing list. The reason for their timing is to appeal to us during the Christmas season of giving and entice us to get in our last-minute tax donations before year-end. That isn't to say these requests aren't from worthy causes; it is just that the number of pleas seems excessive and the timing contrived.
In the remainder of this quotation, Jesus says, "so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Unlike replying to end-of-the-year solicitations, we are to give privately, generously, and freely at all times. It somehow seems not in the true spirit of giving if our giving becomes influenced by tax deductions. When thought and calculation come into the picture, the left hand knows precisely what the right hand is doing.
God of all things, we give thanks for your gracious gifts. Please help us respond at all times privately, generously, and freely, not giving to be seen or influenced by any other reason than responding to your love. Instill in us a passion for giving. We ask this in the name of your greatest gift to the world, Jesus Christ.