So far in our New Covenant Giving series, we’ve looked at giving yourself to God first and giving in response to Jesus’ gift. Today, we’re going to look at the importance of giving with a sincere desire and love. When you give yourself fully to God, His love will live in you and will be evident in your desire to help others – especially the needy. Without God’s love and the sincere desire it produces, giving does you no good.
Having the Desire to Give
Christian giving should be the result of a sincere desire to give. This sincere desire comes from God’s love dwelling in us, which compels us to look after the needs of others. In following Jesus’ teaching that we should love others as ourselves, we look after their needs as much as we do our own.
1 If there is therefore any exhortation in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any tender mercies and compassion, 2 make my joy full, by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind; 3 doing nothing through rivalry or through conceit, but in humility, each counting others better than himself; 4 each of you not just looking to his own things, but each of you also to the things of others.
Philippians 2:1-4 (WEB) emphasis mine
Jesus compels us to love each other, just as He loved us. Our love for one another is manifested in our desire to look after each other’s needs and to meet those needs as we are able. In fact, it is our desire to give that makes our gifts acceptable and pleasing to God.
10 I give a judgment in this: for this is expedient for you, who were the first to start a year ago, not only to do, but also to be willing. 11 But now complete the doing also, that as there was the readiness to be willing, so there may be the completion also out of your ability. 12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what you have, not according to what you don’t have.
2 Corinthians 8:10-12 (WEB)
It is our desire, willingness, and love that make our gifts acceptable – not a certain amount or percentage. We know that God loves a cheerful giver, and this is why He wants us to give willingly what we have decided in our hearts. Christians aren’t going to give less because they’re no longer under a compulsory tithe. If we’re following God’s Spirit, we’re much more likely to give generously – even beyond our means. It’s all because God’s love is acting through us, and God’s extravagantly lavish love for us has been made evident to us through His Son.
Give with Love
Jesus taught us that we will keep the whole Law if we focus on loving God and loving our neighbors. Love is the essence of God’s Spirit. And if we’re following His Spirit, we will do everything with love. Giving with love is so vital to New Covenant Giving that Paul said our giving does us no good if it’s not done with love.
If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but don’t have love, it profits me nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:3 (WEB)
God doesn’t want us to give because “we’re supposed to”, because “that’s what Christians do”, or even because “it’s just the right thing to do”. He wants us to give because we love one another and have a desire to show that love through our giving. Even giving everything we have to the poor is meaningless if it isn’t a result of love. Giving sacrificially will mean nothing unless it comes from love. And giving 10% is certainly meaningless if it’s only done because of a commandment, obligation, guilt, misunderstanding, or a false teaching.
We should do good because we love one another – not because we feel like we’re just supposed to do it. Our love for God and our love for each other are made evident in our actions – our deeds show proof of God’s love living in us.
10 In love of the brothers be tenderly affectionate one to another; in honor preferring one another; 11 not lagging in diligence; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope; enduring in troubles; continuing steadfastly in prayer; 13 contributing to the needs of the saints; given to hospitality.
Romans 12:10-13 (WEB) emphasis mine
When God’s love is living in us, we will do those things that show our love for each other. Giving to help each other is one way that we prove our love and the sincere desire that God places in our hearts. Freewill, sacrificial giving demonstrates the sincerity of our love and the fruits of the Spirit in our lives.
I speak not by way of commandment, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity also of your love.
2 Corinthians 8:8 (WEB)
Give Even to Your Enemies
The love of God is so powerful that it can even impel us to love and give to our enemies. God has shown His compassion and mercy to the whole world by giving His Son to die for our sins even while we were still in our sins and unrepentance. It is clear that once we accept His wonderful gift His love in us will be made evident in the good we’ll show not just to each other but to our enemies as well.
32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive back as much. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil.
Luke 6:32-35 (WEB)
So do not give if it’s not out of a sincere desire that God has placed in your heart. And do not give if you’re giving for any reason other than love. God’s love will lead you to give according to His will – to give generously, lovingly, cheerfully, and even sacrificially when needed.
And if you find you do not have God’s love producing that sincere desire in you, seek God’s Spirit and pray for His love to live in you. Give yourself fully to Him. Remember His unspeakable gift in Jesus Christ. Pour yourself out to Him, and He will surely give you His love and desire to care for others.