Lots of celebrities and television shows are into giving away money to the less fortunate these days. I’m grateful for God’s common grace that moves both Christians and non-Christians to pity and help the poor. One celebrity recently encouraged their viewers, “Remember, never give to receive; give to give.” I appreciate the thought and agree that we shouldn’t do things with selfish motives. But God never says we should simply “give to give.”
God’s word says that whatever we do, we should do for the glory of God (1 CO 10.31). So don’t “Give to give,” but “Give for the glory of God.” Give to display God’s compassion for those in need. Give in gratitude for the love of Christ who emptied himself to make us rich. Give to display the power of the gospel to change self-centered sinners to those who care for others.
Not only does God say we should give for his glory, but we should give expecting reward and blessing. He stirs us to generosity by promising an abundant return. God doesn’t say “give to give.” That would be like saying to a farmer, “Plow to plow. Sow for the sake of sowing. But don’t have any expectation of a harvest.” I don’t know about you, but I’m not into plowing for plowing’s sake.
God motivates us to give generously by promising we’ll reap bountifully:
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully (2 CO 9.6).
God encourages us to bless the poor by promising to pay us back:
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord,and he will repay him for his deed (PR 19.17)
Imagine us lending to God – and the King of the universe paying us back – with interest!
And here is the key – Give here, get treasure in heaven:
Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (MT 19.21).
But isn’t giving with an expectation of reward selfish? Not if God tells us to give this way. Isn’t this the prosperity gospel? No. God doesn’t promise he’ll prosper us financially in this world, but will give us treasure in the next. Our reaping will be in heaven, when Jesus returns and says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your master.” Jesus promises us that in this life he’ll meet all our needs. In other words, he’ll give us all the grace we need to glorify him each day.
So don’t just give to give. Give to glorify God. And give with hope of eternal rewards.