Monday, December 24, 2012

Generosity or Manipulation??

Multiple choice:  Do I give to the homeless family at the shelter because:

A.  It's a tax deduction
B.  The head trustee for the shelter is in my line of business and will think well of me
C. I get warm fuzzies
D. They need it
E.  God will see and reward me
F.  God has already given me so much and it's my privilege to use it for His purposes

Here's a few hints:

8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. II Corinthians 9:8

The fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects you from that. Proverbs 29:25

Acts 4:36-5:11

As you might have guessed, the answers get better as you go down the list, and the best answer is the last one.  Jesus gives partial credit for E--He never seems to criticize the disciples when they ask Him, "What's in it for me?" 

Even need alone is not sufficient motivation for our generosity (answer D).  When Mary anointed Jesus' feet with costly perfume and Judas complained, Jesus responded that the poor will always have needs.  It's easy to fall into a trap of over-helping and further handicapping those who already have issues. 

The difference between codependency and Godly generosity is in the motivation.  Staying connected to the vine--dwelling in His presence--will provide enough gratitude to give sacrifically.  Anything less is going to result in a selfish motivation, manipulation and disappointment. 

If you can only get to answer D, then you probably should still go ahead and give, serve or help, knowing that you still need to get further down the list.  He can do better through you...

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