Matthew 6:1-4

When it comes to the work of giving and caring in secret, who are our role models? I’ve witnessed such good works all my life that I have a list of those who showed me how it’s done. 

When my dad was in seminary, he pastored a small rural church. My mom was a pastor’s spouse with three elementary-aged kids and a tight budget. I remember her sharing tips and strategies to help people in need to get the most bags for their buck at the grocery store.

One summer in college I lived with Kate, a matriarch of the church my dad pastored when I was in high school. I often saw her fill a basket with food she’d cooked and flowers from her garden for someone who was sick or in need or in crisis. Everything she did was beautiful. She would cover the food with a lovely cloth napkin, and the bright zinnias poking out were enough to cheer the dead. I love zinnias to this day for reminding me of Kate and her good works.

As a young adult I helped with a church building campaign and learned of members who mortgaged their houses during the Great Depression to pay for the grand building, which they began constructing in 1926. That building has housed great preaching, teaching, and creative ministry for almost 100 years.

More recently I learned of a trans woman who put her wedding ring in the offering plate because it was all she had to give. Just last week I heard of friends taking food to a young mom with breast cancer. The work continues. Our churches are blessed with many of these people.

Thanks be to God for these gentle armies, quietly giving and caring, living out Jesus’ commandments. And thanks be to God for some “good gossips,” who leak some of their secrets so we might be inspired.


What does it take to give up the credit for doing something good? How could learning to do this help your faith grow?


God, keep my focus on you, so any good I do is for your eyes alone. Amen.

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