(Jesus said) "Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 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. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." Matthew 6:2-4
"You could have heard a pin drop."
That's how City Counselor Andre Rivette described the situation when he addressed the council concerning the men on the police force in Cornwall, Ontario. No doubt the community representatives were afraid their department was going to receive some of the bad press which, often undeservedly, has swirled around various law officers and their departments, in recent months.
What the council heard was this: some of the local officers had answered a domestic call, one of the most unpredictable events in an officer's life. When they arrived, they found an elderly couple involved in an intense argument. It took some time, but eventually they found out the wife has dementia and was arguing with her husband of 54 years.
On the other hand, the husband who was deeply concerned about his bride also confessed that times were tough, and he had recently been forced to pawn his wedding ring to keep food on the table. With peace having been restored, at least temporarily, the officers left.
It should have been the end of the story, but it wasn't. Down at the station the officers took up a collection. They raised $150 for groceries and another $130 to get the man's ring out of the pawn shop.
Now you and I know in the scheme of things $280 is not a lot of money, it's not a big deal.
On the other hand, when nameless officers go out of their way to help an unnamed elderly couple, it becomes a very big deal indeed. These officers didn't offer their gift because TV cameras were rolling or because they knew they were being evaluated. They did their act of charity in secret because it was the right thing to do. Jesus, who sacrificed Himself so that all who believe on Him might be forgiven and saved, says much the same thing in our text above.
Over the years I have been a "mouse in the corner" and seen fellow Christians do the same kind of thing for others. I would love to tell their stories, but I never will. The givers did what they did because they saw a need and they wished to honor the Savior by helping answer that need. Oh, every one of them also said, and believed, "It was no big deal."
Don't you believe it; it was a very big deal, indeed.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, our Savior gave Himself for my eternal salvation. It was an act of charity that was unprecedented in scope and reach. May I, when given the opportunity, honor my Redeemer and answer the needs of my fellow man. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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