Ruth Bell Graham: What the Left Hand Is Doing

Ruth Bell Graham: What the Left Hand Is Doing

“He doesn’t want his right hand to know that his left hand is doing nothing,” a friend said of a stingy relative, wryly reversing Jesus’ advice to not let the left hand know what the right is doing (see Matthew 6:3). 

Those who have affected my life most deeply for good have seldom, if ever, been aware of the fact. On the other hand, people who think themselves a blessing seldom are.

Jesus told us in Matthew 25 that at the final judgment, He will separate the people one from another, as a shepherd would divide sheep and goats, sending the sheep to the right and the goats to the left.

He will say to the sheep: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, … For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, … I was a stranger and you invited me in, … I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me” (Matthew 25:34-36). 

But to the goats He will say the opposite, commanding, “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). The goats will have ignored His every need, which, He explained, are the needs of the least of His brethren.

Those who minister to His needs are as unaware of their goodness and kindness as those who are indifferent are unaware of their indifference.

Perhaps this is why Jesus warned against giving alms before men. And against letting your left hand know what the right is doing. 


Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version. 

Adapted by permission from “Legacy of a Pack Rat,” by Ruth Bell Graham, ©1989 The Ruth Graham Literary Trust.

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