For some of us, it’s just a tax deduction. For others, it’s a sense of satisfaction for ourselves that we’re helping somebody else. Still others might give just to look good doing it. [See Can It Ever Be Wrong to Be Generous]
When we give money or resources, no one really knows our motives. It’s a lot harder to conceal our motives when we actually have to do something with someone — when we have to share life with them.
When we can’t just write a check or swipe a card, it’s more difficult to hide the fact that far too many of us love to give but hate to love.
Giving money is easy — assuming, of course, that we have it to give. But loving — ah, that’s a challenge of different sort, although it still involves giving.
Love is the act of giving of ourselves to one another. When we love, we engage in relational generosity. There’s no faking when it costs us some part of our lives.
Is it that we love to give as long as there are no messy strings attached once the ink is dry or the offering envelope sealed? Is it that we’re afraid that giving of ourselves to our neighbor will cost us more than we really want to give?
Perhaps that’s why we put up walls to keep our relational costs to a minimum. Our walls keep out those who are hard for us to love, and limit interactions that may prove relationally expensive. Maybe it’s their beliefs that make it tough for us to love them. Maybe it’s the color of their skin or their obvious economic need that makes us uncomfortable. Whatever it is, we don’t like it. Not one bit. In fact, we hate it. Truth be told, we hate to love them.
But Walls Feel Good
We know we shouldn’t build them, but walls feel better in the moment. We know the walls aren’t good, but we think that, for today at least, walls work. Someday, we may reach out to love those who make us uncomfortable. Someday. But not today. Today we’ll lay another brick to keep them out, to push them a little further away.
It’s been said that a person can live forty days without food, four days without water, four minutes without air, but only four seconds without hope. Who knows? The person we chose not to love today may have been gasping for someone — anyone — to toss a shred of hope his or her way. Instead, they hit a wall. A wall we built out of indifference, fear, or comfort to protect our own self-centered kingdom.
Just whose kingdom is it supposed to be anyways? When people see how we interact with those in need of love, will they conclude as they did of the disciples in Acts 4:13, “They recognized that they had been with Jesus”? Or will they be left wondering just what our motives really were when we tapped the “Donate” button?
Help Is on the Way
It’s not enough for us to love to give, we must learn to give ourselves to those we hate to love. We must give generously of ourselves to one another because Christ gave of himself for us.
That’s why we are excited about Rhemedia’s next cinematic journey coming soon that builds on the themes of our powerful Living Generously film series. The new series Loving Generously will delve deeper into the heart of the call to generosity with the same cinematic excellence and captivating stories that inspire us to tear down our walls and equip us to re-imagine generosity.
Explore more at ReimagineGenerosity.com. Subscribe to this blog in the upper right to be notified when the new series launches soon.
What can you do today to give love beyond your comfort zone and invite someone in — or back in — to your life? Leave a comment with your own ideas for loving generously.