I started seeing it everywhere. Different words, but a similar melody. If you give…you get. If you give to my campaign, I will give you a hat. If you give to this school, I will put your name in the program. If you sponsor this child, we will give you a calendar. I am sad to say I have even heard, if you give to the Lord, you get more. While this sounds true if I hold my head just right, and I hang some verses on it to shine it up, it still doesn’t sound like true giving.
It sounds like negotiating, a barter system. Trade and commerce. I need this from you, so I am willing to give you this in order get what I need in return. For sure we live in an exchange system, which is a good and noble means of human interaction. However it still doesn’t sound like giving.
Compare this mentality to the bridal shower I just went to. I didn’t expect the bride-to-be to give me a gift. I bought something and I freely chose to give it to her. My gift was one way. I didn’t expect anything back unless we count the snacks I ate. Why would I give like this?
She invited me into her story. I gave my resources to bless her story. No strings attached.
Giving by its very nature is a one-way phenomena. When I see a need, or desire, or vision, I want to invest or be part of it. It’s my willing sacrifice. I don’t need to be bribed to give.
Why am I hammering this? It is a heart check in a self-serving generation.
We love a Giving God. He gives to us. FREELY. Without expectation, need, or demand that we give him something in return. He is our model of love. Too many times we are manipulated into supporting things or people out of guilt or pressure. Or worse, we give only to advance our own agendas. “If I give you this, then you have to give me something back.”
I could launch into a thousand conversations on why this mental distortion leads to dysfunction around money, sex, power, and religion. Many a woman has compromised sexually because some guy bought her dinner. Enough said. It’s gross. It’s cheap.
Instead, giving is one of our most sacred expressions of God. It’s my joy to give you a gift. My sacrifice. For you. Period. Think Jesus.
What’s brilliant is most gifts keep on giving. My gift to my bride friend will no doubt be used to bless others down the road. But. It is a ripple not a boomerang. It goes away from me, not back toward me.
I hope you hear my heart in this. We must be diligent in our motives:
Guard our heart above all else. Proverbs 4:23
Freely you have received; freely give. Matthew 10:8
We don’t give to get. We give because we know that God we will always provide enough for us to give to someone else. Our Giving God will make sure of that.
God calls us to be generous, abounding in every good work. Not grudgingly or under compulsion. We give purely out of sacrificial trust in Him. Why? We look like our Dad when we do.
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25