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Thank God My Coworker Gave Me Those Donuts Anonymously

Recently, I moved to a nicer office and sent an email around letting everyone know I was now on other side of the building.  In the email, I jokingly invited everyone to come over for a “tour” of the new space and apologized that I didn’t have any hors devours to share with well-wishers.

Well, I didn’t have hors devours yet.

I was in a meeting that morning, and when I got back to my office, there was a box of Dunkin’ Donuts on my desk.  There was a note on it that was written in all caps that said, “Not that people wouldn’t drop by just to see you and your new furniture.  Happy new office!”  The person didn’t sign it or leave clues about who they were, and I was so grateful.

I didn’t feel like I owed anyone or that someone was trying to get something from me.  In fact, in no time, I began attributing all the good will to everyone in the office and feeling grateful to God that I worked in such a friendly place.  It was such a contrast to what I did on the beach a couple of weeks ago.

Gratitude Panhandling

The tide was steadily coming in; and on the shore, there were two nice beach chairs, one of which had a towel on it.  The owners were nowhere to be seen, so I moved the chairs again and again as the tide rose.  When the couple who owned the chairs finally showed up, I couldn’t help myself.  I went over, pointed to the crashing waves, and said, “A couple of hours ago, your chairs were out there.”

“Oh, thanks so much for pulling them in,” said the guy.  “We just realized they were out here and figured they had probably gotten washed away.”

“Don’t worry about it,” I said, feeling like a lame gratitude panhandler as the words came to my mind, “You have your reward.”

Throw Away Your Trumpet

Jesus said, “When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do – blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity!  I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get” (Matthew 6:2).

Beware of anyone who lets you know what they did for you, and beware of any desire in you to let others know you did a charitable deed.  People who “blow trumpets” to announce their good deeds are looking for a reward, and they will resent you if you don’t give it to them.

So, for example, when I went over to the couple on the beach, I was looking for some gratitude.  And if the guy would’ve just shrugged his shoulders after I announced my great, magnanimous deed of chair moving, it would’ve bothered me.  It wasn’t enough to let the man wonder who did it – or worse – not even realize it had been done.

Freedom to Receive

When someone gives anonymously, there’s total freedom.  Nobody owes anybody else; nobody’s trying to manipulate; nobody has an agenda.  They’re just giving for the sake of giving.

It’s a powerful way of showing real, unconditional love – the kind that says, “You’re valuable because of who you are – not because you have something to give me in return.”  That’s the kind of love God pours out on us every day in millions of ways that we don’t even notice.  And when we imitate Him through anonymous giving, we increase the likelihood that the recipient will look around, and with no one else to thank, give thanks to the One who deserves it anyway.

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One Comment
  1. Seeking Hope #

    Sometimes it can be difficult to get away with charitable work if somebody else finds out what you did and blows your horn for you. Take Dan Price for instance. He took a massive pay cut so that his employees could enjoy better lives.
    If only other CEOs could see him as an inspiration.


    June 23, 2015

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