Keeping It Secret

Nancy Hatcher, Volunteer Writer, South Barrington  | February 16, 2024

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. 
Matthew 6:2-4

When I was eight years old, my dad gave me the privilege of riding my bike to the delicatessen to get staples. I looked forward to the chore, knowing I would be able to use some of my allowance for ‘penny candy.’ I could choose what kind of candy I wanted; the only stipulation was that I must stay within my budget. It was a good deal because lollipops or bubble gum were just a few cents back then. 

Every Saturday, my dad would dole out three quarters, one dime, and a nickel as my allowance. He requested that I put at least one dime in the wooden church bank the following day in Sunday School.  So… I put the dime in my change purse, and the rest I deposited in my piggy bank with a rubber stopper on the bottom.

Many of you who are parents know my dad was trying to teach me about tithing or giving ten percent of my earnings to God. I did this joyfully until one Sunday school morning, Nellie Oleson (name change to protect the innocent) walked haughtily up to the church bank, holding not a coin but a green bill. We all intently watched as she stuffed her dollar in. In a flash, I turned green with envy. The following Saturday, I told my dad that I needed an increase in my allowance.

“How much?”

“I need ten dollars a week” I choked out.

“Hmmm, explain—I don’t think you need that much candy from the deli.”

So I told him, “Nellie gave God a dollar bill at church—much more than me.”

He gazed at my watery eyes and smiled, “Honey, God says in His word that he wants us to be cheerful givers” (2 Corinthians 9:6).

“But she will see how much less I give.”

“Next week, I’ll give you an envelope, like we get for adult worship; that way, you can give in secret (Matthew 6:4). The offering is between you and God—no one else.”

My dad taught me about giving ten percent and managing my money. Those lessons will never be forgotten, and sharing Jesus’ teaching about cheerfully giving in secret are both cherished passages from God’s word. 

Next Steps

  • In our church, the tithes and offering bags are deep and dark for secret giving; online giving also follows this principle. Giving this way helps my husband and I to stay faithful. Do you tithe to the church? If not, ask God to show you his heart for tithing.
  • Our Care Center also has many opportunities to give—coats, backpacks, school supplies, and socks are just a few of the many secretive ways to give.