As I think back over what has transpired this year and begin to look ahead to what is to come in the new year, my mind goes back to something a mentor of mine was well known for saying; “Everyone has an m/o.” And while we are in the throes of this holiday season, it is not the “how” or the “what” that is on my mind as people seek out their bargains and deals to make the most of their gift giving and offerings of charitable donations; it’s ultimately the “why.”
There is so much stress and anxiety surrounding this season, for countless reasons. The question that begs answering is, “When it comes down to my gift giving and charitable works, how do I know my motivations are pure?”
- Reciprocation: It always feels great to give knowing you’ll get something in return, but it is so much greater a feeling and more rewarding when you know that you’ve given to someone who cannot give back. Giving in expectation of having it reciprocated is poor motivation and is eventually seen as not being genuine.
- Competition: There are those that feel the urge to out-give another as though this will earn them brownie points with someone. While there is nothing wrong with good natured competition, competitive giving can often lead to hurt feelings when you don’t do as well as another. Bragging rights are again a poor motivation.
- Guilt: Giving out of guilt is something that many fall into the trap of, especially at this time of year. The bible tells us that whatever we do, we should do it, as unto the Lord.” That being the case, than even when we give to others, it should never be with a sense of guilt or feelings of being forced to give. This is another wrong motive.
- Visible: There is no greater sense of vanity than to give simply to be seen of others. Jesus said that those who give with the intent of being seen already have their reward.
- Love: Giving out of a heart that has no motive other than to love without strings attached is always the way you should give. People know when you give willingly and with joy, regardless the size of it, you mean it and it means the world to them and to God.
When we give, we should always be led by our heart, not our head. It’s never the size of the gift or the giver that matters. It is always the size of the heart.
QUESTION: How do you ensure than you are giving from your heart?