Dallas Willard: Low-keyed and unassuming

Home » Meditations » Meditations » Dallas Willard: Low-keyed and unassuming

So that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:4

“When we remember that we are, overall, as needy as those we serve and that to receive is not as blessed to give, our deeds of giving will naturally be low-keyed and unassuming. Perhaps we will find ways in which we can meet needs without anyone knowing the source, as Matthew 6:4 says “so that our giving may be in secret.” One way to gain such understanding is to experience the life of the poor in some further measure—though we must never give in to the tempation to act as if we are poor when we are not. No adequate elaboration of practical strategies can be undertaken here. But, depending upon our family and other circumstances, we might, as earlier suggested, do some of our ordinary business in the poorer districts of our community. It may even be as simple as getting out of our cars and onto public transportation. One of the great social and economic divisions in many parts of the world is between those who must ride in public transportation and those who can transport themselves.”

Dallas Willard in The Spirit of the Disciplines: Understanding How God Changes Lives (New York: HarperCollins, 1988) 213.

Got to go to the Van Gogh experience yesterday! Vincent was a low-key and unassuming guy, and some might say he was eccentric. Furthermore, his contributions to the art world, such as Almond Blossoms (pictured above), did not become widely known in his lifetime, only later.

What if our generosity was low-keyed and unassuming and largely unknown by others? What if we did whatever work God gifted us to do in a prolific way, never seeking recognition? What if we did business in poorer districts? All this runs counter to what the world tells us to do.

The world says to run with the wealthy, to avoid public transport, to drive the newest and nicest car. Hear me. We need to be gracious with each other. At coffee with my friend, Rich Haynie, yesterday, I was reminded that we must not condemn each other but keep watch over ourselves. We will all answer to God for our stewardship.

So what’s the lesson for us? Let’s live, give, serve, and love generously in low-keyed and unassuming ways. Let’s run with the ordinary and even among the poor, like Jesus did, remembering that to receive is not as blessed to give. And, let us give generously in secret.