Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:12-14
This passage requires us to examine on a deep level to consider the motives behind our generosity. There are four reasons why someone gives.
- We give from a sense of duty. We may give to God and our fellow human beings in the same was as we might pay our income tax. It is a duty that we cannot escape, and so we give because we feel that we are required to do so under some penalty.
- We may give to others from motives of self-interest. We might look upon this as some investment, and we might even regard this giving as an entry on the credit side of our account in the account books that God is supposedly keeping on us. This type of giving is so far from being generous it is called rationalized selfishness.
- We may give to feel superior. This sort of giving is a very cruel thing indeed. This type of giving can cause harm to the one that the gift is being given to more than if we just refused to give them something. When we give from this position, it is if we are standing on a high hill looking down upon those we are giving too or looking down our nose at them. We may even accompany the gift with a little lecture or some other corrective stance; it would be much better not to give at all than to give from this position since all we are truly doing is gratifying our vanity and our desire for power.
- A person may give to another because we simply cannot help it and this is truly the only way to give. The law of the kingdom is this – that if a person gives to gain reward no compensation will be paid, but if one gives with no thought at all about a reward, then our reward is sure. The only genuine and Christian giving is that which is the uncontrollable outflow of love.
In the end, it all comes down to this; God gave to the world because he loved the world and because of this we must also give out of love.