Recently, I posted a blog about giving, Be a Giver. Since then, the question, Why Be a Giver, has been rattling around in my brain.
If you’re a Christian, the immediate answer is because God tells us to. Obedience is great, but I think there’s more to it.
When I was told to clean my room as a child, I did it. Reluctantly. I was obedient, more because of coercion than anything else. I didn’t do it to please my parents so much as to avoid punishment if I didn’t or to receive a promised reward if I did. And, within a few hours of my efforts being approved, it was back in its ‘normal’ condition.
This is not the motivation God wants us to have when we give. He wants our giving to be an act of worship and praise. He tells us in 2 Corinthians 9:7 how he wants us to give:
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. NIV
Why? Because it will reveal the condition of our hearts and our true attitude toward him. He wants to know us intimately, and he wants us to know ourselves just as intimately.
Other Reasons to Be a Giver
It feels good to help others. Volunteering at a local food bank or women’s shelter or school event. If you’re a writer, volunteering at a writer’s conference or a local writer’s group. After doing something like this, I’m aware of a glow of satisfaction I experience which helps ease the aches and tiredness. Even if what we do seems small, the recipient receives something they didn’t expect. It might look like a small thing to us, but it shows the other person they have value and worth.
When we give, we help ourselves. Each time I’ve given my time and talents, I’ve learned something. Sometimes, it’s about the writing craft. Or I’ve learned more about people from those I interact with, whether it’s staff, other volunteers, or the people I’m serving. As a writer, I will frequently get insight into developing my characters (there’s nothing like observing people), or ideas into fleshing out my setting and story world. At the very least, I’m getting out of my writing cave and interacting with other humans.
I’ve mentioned in other posts my wife and I serve in the stewardship ministry at our church. We help with classes, and we provide one-on-one counseling with couples and individuals re: finances, budgeting, getting out of debt, and planning for the future. It’s not unusual to come across a new situation that makes us stop and think and pray as we work through the matter with the other person. We learn new things about ourselves and the different ways to improve how we assess and interact with people.
Giving helps society. We are coming together to serve others in their need. They are coming to us to receive. When we serve them with the right attitude of genuinely wanting to help and bless, we are building community. We’re planting seeds of hope.
Whether we make the time to work with single moms or with disadvantaged or challenged kids, we are showing them they are worthy. For Christians, there is the evangelical aspect of helping others draw close to God because when they meet us, they are meeting Jesus in action through us.
What are some reasons you give of yourself to help others?