Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. I’ve been taking us through 1 Corinthians 13 lately to see what the Apostle Paul has to say about love. Tonight, we’re going to be looking at the topic of love in relation to giving.
Many of us often see big announcements from businesses when they make donations. If you go to some stores and shop, you can see them announcing how much they’ve given to a local charity. Most of us upon seeing this can think it’s just PR. To an extent, we can be right about that.
Of course, we shouldn’t blow it all off that way. Some companies could really care about these charities and want their customers to know that this is a caring company. We cannot judge the hearts. However, we can at the same time be aware that a large act of giving does not necessitate the existence of love.
Paul here tells us that one can give all that they have to the poor and still not have love. We can remember the story of Jesus being in the temple and seeing the rich come in and dropping in large amounts of money. It is when the widow comes in and gives all that she has that Jesus really pays attention.
We can also remember the words about the Pharisees that Jesus said in that they like to make it known when they are giving gifts so everyone can see. He tells us that they have their reward then. They want to give to be seen by men and so they are seen by men. The reward is given.
Now sometimes you will give and the giver will know who you are when giving. This happens with PayPal donations today to our ministry and we definitely see it when we have Christmas and birthday celebrations going on. “Okay. This gift is from Mom. This gift is from Aunt Susie. This gift is from my brother.”
Isn’t there such a blessing however in receiving a gift often and not knowing who it’s from? Right off, I can think of three incidents in recent history in which I have received a generous gift from someone and to this day, I have no idea who it is. Of course, I can speculate each time, but I suspect that the person just wants to see the satisfaction of knowing that we enjoy the gift. In a sense, that person too has their reward in the joy of giving, but I can be sure that they have even more coming eventually.
In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells them that God loves a cheerful giver. When we give, it should not be something that we think we’re guilted into. A lot of churches do this on sermons involving tithes. Whether you think the tithe is valid today or not, the point is that sermons on giving to the church regularly tend to be met with skepticism, and we can see why. Unfortunately, there are a lot of churches today that are highly interested in big bank accounts on Earth instead of in Heaven.
By all means, Christians should give, but giving itself is not a sign of love. It has been said that you can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving. Let us learn to love first then and those of us who might have a tendency to being stingy can learn more about giving on the way.
We shall continue next time.