by Jonathan Daugherty
“…for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts…”
1 Chron. 28:9
Years ago, when I was in college, I gave to a homeless man. But I didn’t give him money or food. I gave him clothes.
I was driving along when I saw this guy standing on the corner outside a convenience store. He had some words scribbled on a piece of cardboard. I didn’t bother to read them. His hair was matted down, his jeans were ripped, and his shirt was missing some buttons. As I drove past him I came up with my brilliant idea for “giving” to him.
I raced to my apartment, went to my closet, then proceeded to pull out all the clothes that had been piled into the darkest corners, clothing I hadn’t worn (or washed) in who knows how long. I found a box, stuffed all the clothes inside it and headed back to the street corner on my mission of giving.
When I got to the street corner the guy was still there, still holding his cardboard sign. I parked behind the convenience store and then, arms loaded with my box of “hand-me-downs,” I walked over to him. I said hello and then extended the box of clothes to him.
“Here. I hope this helps. God bless you.”
Good deed done. I was certain God was proud of me.
Today, however, I’m not so sure that God smiled that day. I might have done a “good deed” but my motives were a bit off and I’m not even convinced I provided any real help to that man. I was more interested in the “deed” than in the person it was affecting. In fact, I never even took the time to know the man’s name or ask a question to see if my “gift” was fitting his needs at all!
Attitude is important in giving. We first need our minds changed to believe that giving is of utmost importance, and hopefully to be retrained into thinking of others first. But even as our priorities shift toward this most wonderful work of giving, we must be careful that our motives are pure and selfless as well. Are we seeking to meet another person’s needs when we give, or are we simply propping up our own “goodness” for others to see?
I don’t want to prop myself up anymore. I want to be a better giver, one who gives with right motives. This is the type of giving that God smiles upon. What will you do today to begin realigning your motives toward giving? When you have your answer, get to doing it…