That Thine Alms May Be in Secret – 3 Nephi 13:1-4

1 Verily, verily, I say that I would that ye should do alms unto the poor; but take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them; otherwise ye have no reward of your Father who is in heaven.
2 Therefore, when ye shall do your alms do not sound a trumpet before you, as will hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, they have their reward.
3 But when thou doest alms let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth;
4 That thine alms may be in secret; and thy Father who seeth in secret, himself shall reward thee openly.
I don’t think that this passage means that we have to go out of our way to hide our good works all the time. After all, in the prior chapter, the Savior teaches us that the good works of his disciples will be visible: “Let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven” (3 Nephi 12:16). But there is a difference between allowing others to see our good works and broadcasting those good works.
In the passage above, the Savior is concerned about our motives. He wants us to be focused on doing good, not on appearing to do good. He wants us to “do alms unto the poor” for the right reasons: because we love them and because we are committed to doing what is right.
Maybe a part of developing that discipline is to ensure that some of our good works are hidden from others. It is so hard to accurately perceive our own motives. Maybe the practice of intentionally performing acts of service that others don’t see helps us ensure that we are focused on the works themselves, not on getting credit for them in the eyes of others.
Today, I will perform acts of service that no one else is aware of. I will remember that true discipleship consists of being righteous, not just looking righteous.

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