Summary: How to give in a way that will invite reward from God.
When It Comes To Giving, What Is The “Reward In Full” That We’re Hoping For? Either less private guilt or more public praise.
- Let’s look at two of the biggest “rewards”:
a. Less private guilt.
- Sometime we give out of sense of guilt: the homeless man at the side of the road, the plea from the preacher that the church is $30,000 behind budget, the starving child on TV.
- We feel guilty and we give to lessen that guilt.
- I’m not saying that guilt is intrinsically wrong. Sometimes we need some guilt because we’re being shallow.
- The important thing to note here is that God is really not in play in our decision.
b. More public praise.
- How could you get public praise for that? Let’s count some of the ways that happen every day in America:
1. Framed certificates.
2. Published names of the “generous supporters” (sorted by their giving levels).
- Those giving levels are often given clever names (Partner; Eagle Club; Gold Level; and similar drivel).
3. Gifts equal access to the preacher.
4. Gifts equal attention from the preacher.
5. Just knowing that the church leadership knows who the big givers are.
7. Named buildings.
8. Thanks from the pulpit.
9. Thanks from that person.
10. Mentioning our giving to someone.
- In each case our focus is on knowing that a person (or people) know that we gave (and usually how much we gave).
- Who among us doesn’t love to be asked about our newest purchase – purse, iPhone, car, golf clubs, house, jewelry?
- We’ve even got a well-known phrase to describe that happening: conspicuous consumption. We’re spending our money in ways that will get noticed publicly.
- I think that’s one of the big things that pushes “early adopters” of technology – to be the first of their friends to have a gadget and to be able to brag.
- It might be worth noting here that there is a difference between character and reputation.
- Our reputation is dependent on what other people think of us. Sometimes it’s accurate; sometimes it’s not.
- Our character is who we really are. It’s not dependent on anyone else’s thoughts about us.
- To cite one example, it’s interesting how radically the reputations of presidents shift over time. Some who are considered great as they leave office are seen as lackluster a couple generations later (Kennedy comes to mind). Some who are reviled during their generation are seen as great by the eyes of history (Lincoln comes to mind).
- We, of course, need to be focused on our character, not our reputation. There’s nothing wrong (and much good) about having a good reputation, but our path for achieving that should be the pursuit of a good character.
How To Be Rewarded By God:
- There a number of good motivations for our giving:
a. Thanksgiving for our salvation.
b. Desire to invest in the Kingdom.
c. Knowledge that what you give (to the Kingdom) you get to keep (eternally), but what you spend (on worldly stuff) you lose (by leaving in this life).