The Joy of Lent | Deep Dive Week 4: The Joy of Secret Service

Corbin Riley   -  

Almsgiving, a term that may seem archaic, is the act of giving to those in need. It’s a practice as old as human civilization itself, a cornerstone of many faiths and philosophies. It’s the selfless donation of resources, time, or assistance to individuals or communities without expecting acknowledgment or reward. So, how is Christian almsgiving unique?

In our modern world, where social media often serves as a platform for broadcasting our good deeds, the concept of secret almsgiving becomes even more profound. It’s about finding joy in the act of giving itself, not in the accolades that might follow. It’s a silent service where the left-hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing (Matthew 6:3), and the only witness to your charity is your Heavenly Father.

Richard Foster, in his insightful work ‘The Celebration of Discipline,’ eloquently speaks to the elusive nature of humility, a virtue intrinsically linked to the concept of secret almsgiving. He suggests that humility is a quality that cannot be chased down or flaunted. The moment we believe we’ve mastered it, we’ve likely lost it. This paradoxical pursuit reminds us that true humility is found in forgetting oneself in the service of others, and almsgiving is a path to such self-forgetfulness.

By giving anonymously, we step away from the ego’s desire for recognition. We align closer with the essence of humility, understanding that the value of our actions doesn’t diminish because they go unseen by others. In fact, they may hold more value because they are pure in intention, free from the desire for external validation, and done in such a way that honors God.

The joy derived from secret almsgiving is a quiet, internal celebration of being able to help and make a difference in a way that is untainted by the desire for recognition. It is part of our spiritual journey towards a more humble existence, where giving is its own reward. This joy is profound and deeply personal, a treasure stored not on earth but in Heaven.

So, let us embrace the quiet dignity of secret service, finding joy in the humility of giving without a trace, and remember that in the realm of altruism, the greatest rewards are the ones we never see coming.

Always improve the present moment.