What’s In It for Me?

1 Corinthians 13:3

Give only in love.

A couple of years ago, somebody I know had a car problem. Without her car, she couldn’t get to work. Without getting to work, she couldn’t buy food for her kids. Without buying food for her family–she’d be at my house with her kids all the time. My decision to pay for the auto repair was easy. Sure, it cost me, but it kept her annoying kids out of my kitchen!

Just to be clear, I’m not serious. Actually, in the past few years, We’ve had this sort of situation arise several times. Our money passed over the counter someplace when we had absolutely nothing to gain from the exchange. When your own children have needs, you almost have to help them, right? But with friends, you can say no. At least I can say no. I’m pretty good at it.

But in the case of the auto repair, I knew that this person would almost certainly never be able to pay me back. She wasn’t going to get back on her feet and take that job as CEO at Cerner.  She wasn’t even going to bake me really amazing chocolate chip cookies. I couldn’t use my gift as leverage to gain her cooperation later. I couldn’t even brag about it. Instead, I’d just listen to her say “thank you.”

Giving motivated by love is really the only sort of giving there is. When we give for some other motivation, we’re really buying something. I got nothing for paying that mechanic, but I have not missed the money in the intervening years.

  • Do you ever give with a motivation other than love? What motivates your giving in that case?
  • Have you experienced a blessing after giving that was clearly driven by love?
  • Ask God to open your eyes to the opportunities for generosity that He has in mind for you.