The Bible tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. But sometimes we give not out of generosity but out of other motives. This puts us in a lot of danger because it not only wastes our resources but also reflects a bigger problem: That we don't get the point or the essence of giving.
Giving is meant to be a means of expression of worship and devotion to God. We give not because we have to but because we want to, whether that's giving to the church, the poor, or to your brothers and sisters. If our heart truly treasures God and people more than earthy possessions, giving would not be a problem. As Matthew 6:21 reminds us, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Do you think there's a chance that you're giving for the wrong reasons today? Here are three wrong reasons to give that shouldn't be our driving force to generosity.
1. To Gain God's Favour
Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us, "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."
God saves and blesses us not based on our good works, but based on His good heart.
We cannot and will never be able to earn God's favour. Giving is instead to be a means of responding to His favour in gratefulness and goodness. We give to God not to be blessed, but because we're already blessed.
2. To Twist God's Arm
Sometimes we tend to give to God seeking the "30, 60 or 100-fold" that presumably comes back to us, completely bypassing the people whom we give to and the God whom we give for. Giving to get is no better than twisting God's arm and manipulating the contract to get more out of things.
There is nothing wrong with giving expectantly, but when all we focus on is the expectation to get a return, then we also miss the point. The greatest enemy of generosity is greed, and it is possible to give out of greed instead of generosity.
When we give thinking only about what God will bless us back with, it only shows what's inside our heart.
3. To Impress Others
Nowadays it's too common to make benevolence another expensive brand to wear. We base our status and image on how much and whom we give to. That's exactly how giving was in Jesus' time. Pharisees would set up metal boxes that would "clank" every time people dropped money to make those who give a lot feel good when the box would make lots of noises.
God doesn't care how many "clanks" there are to your giving. He looks instead to the condition of the heart and the desire to honour and worship Him. Giving is not a talent show, but a private time of worship between you and God.