Many times when we give there is a type of kickback that comes or that we expect. It can be the simple words of thank you letting us know that our gift has been received and accepted. Other times, there is a card or letter or a tax receipt. When I went door-to-door on my street collecting donations for the Heart and Stroke Foundation one year, a neighbour told me he would rather donate by buying one of their well advertised lottery tickets, presumably because there was a chance he would get something out of it.
When we give in order to get something back, however small, we are missing out on one of Jesus’ principles of giving. He says, “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: 3-4).
When I assemble all the paperwork for my income tax, it is hard to live out what Jesus says. When I have to add up all the figures, my left hand is all too aware of what my right hand has been doing. By claiming my giving on my taxes, it does open up the opportunity for me to give even more when I receive a tax refund. Even so, it is good for us to give anonymously when the situation presents itself. One December when we were establishing ourselves after moving to a new city and dealing with the upheavals of a career change, our family received a card in the mail containing a large amount of cash but no signature. This has been an example for us to bless other families while remaining anonymous.