Generosity: Giving Through Love

Jun 02, 2011

by Matt Gandy

Have you ever stopped and pondered why giving is such an important part of the Christian faith?  Have you withdrawn to that place where all is quiet and still, where your mind has the opportunity to ponder great truths, and contemplated your giving?  Why do many of us still wrestle with the vice that our material possessions have on our hearts and lives? 

In a recent conversation with a friend, I was somewhat taken back by the excitement expressed surrounding a new purchase.  It wasn’t the purchase that was the focal point, but how he was justifying the new purchase and all the good that would likely come from it. 

I asked if giving back to the Kingdom gave him the same excitement as this material purchase.  Maybe it wasn’t a fair question, but something was probing my heart that I couldn’t articulate.

Perhaps I was the one seeking the answer to this question in my own life.  Maybe I was convicted because I internalize my excitement more than expressing it openly as he had done, and I had to admit my conviction was due to my own imbalance.  This was a difficult realization, but one I sought to answer in accordance with scripture.
During my quest and self-evaluation, I realized that giving to the Kingdom should bring us much more excitement and energy that anything we gain in this world.  I began to contemplate what it means to give energetically, not reluctantly or under compulsion, and what prevents me from such giving. 

We know that the things of this world are temporary, but how easy is it to set our eyes on that which is seen as opposed to that which is not.  When I look at the way Christianity is growing around this world, I’m reminded that we are generally stagnant in our American culture and faith.  It is through reading, conversations, and even travel that we actually see, hear, and participate in what is happening as Christ continues to draw his people into his presence. 

If I’m going to get energized about stewardship, perhaps I need to take my understanding to the next level.  I need to ask God to reveal to me the glory of His Kingdom, and how it is working for his good, even in this moment.  I must realize that the hearts and souls of created man are truly the most important aspect of my evangelism.  I’m perfectly certain that my possessions aren’t going to withstand the test of time, but I have no doubt that my brothers and sisters in Christ, both here and abroad, will be the ones with whom I spend eternity. 

Thus I arrive at my next level of understanding, which is to realize and comprehend 1 Corinthians 13:3.  The people I speak of above are the very ones I love, and as a result there is a connection.  My love comes from the love of Christ, and the associated urgency comes from knowing what’s on the line for those who have yet to receive Christ. 

The misdirected point of the above conversation was a focus and hope on worldly objects, and I realized that God has brought me to a place where my love is on people, not on things.  The mere fact that God allows me to be a steward of His belongings points me back to his love for His creation. 

As Gordon McDonald put it, “When love enters the picture, there is a mysterious reciprocity between the giver and the receiver.  For the giver always finds that something of value is passed back, and it is usually something which money cannot buy.” 

As we continue in our journey of stewardship, let us find hope and encouragement in knowing that giving out of love is the only way in which we gain.  As Paul put it, “If I give … but have no love, I gain nothing.”