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May 11 | 1 Corinthians 13:1-8


 

DAILY READING

 

REFLECTION


Giving to Gain

by Mary Alice McGinnis


What is your first reaction when someone offers to give you something for “free"?

What immediately goes through your mind? Do you tend to be suspicious of their intentions?


Many years ago, after my divorce and I was back on the dating scene, those who pursued a date would offer me flowers, nice perfumes, or fancy meals. I found myself not trusting their motives, wondering what their true intentions were. One of my friends suggested, “Maybe they are just trying to being nice.” But I was doubtful.


In my workplace, we frequently must go through cyber-security training. One of the first things that they teach us is to be beware of anyone who emails or texts you an offer of something for free. Cyber criminals often lure us in by promises of “free” only to find out they want our personal information to steal from us.


Why do you suppose we have become so cynical about people who give? Maybe it’s because experience has taught us that all too frequently we find people’s ulterior motives are nefarious. Even if they are not directly trying to take something from us, giving often comes with “strings attached.”


Today’s reading caused me to turn toward myself and question my own motives. What is really driving my desires to give? Do I do it out of some sort of ulterior motive? Is it out of a feeling of obligation? Maybe to feel superior or to be seen as a “good person.” Maybe it’s because I expect something in return (especially appreciation). Maybe I want to use my giving to manipulate or influence someone’s decisions. Maybe deep down, I feel if I do something generous, others will reciprocate and return the favor. If nothing else, maybe God will be pleased with me.


“If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”


The Greek word for “love” here is “agape.”  David Guzik’s Enduring Word commentary says, “Agape is the fourth word for love. It is a love that loves without changing. It is a self-giving love that gives without demanding or expecting repayment. It is love so great that it can be given to the unlovable or unappealing. It is love that loves even when it is rejected. Agape love gives and loves because it wants to; it does not demand or expect repayment from the love given. It gives because it loves; it does not love in order to receive.”


If we were to read through 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and substitute our name in place of the word love (or it), what would it reveal? Here is the reality. None of us can live up to the description of love laid out by Paul in this chapter.


But God is LOVE. He is the very definition of “agape” love. It is Who He Is!


He said that the greatest love is one that lays down his life for his friends. And who has done that for us?  Romans 5:8 tells us, “But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”


Take a moment and reread 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 again, substituting the word love (or it) with Jesus' name.


How does that change your perspective?


Our response to Jesus’ amazing love is to stop seeking to “get” something from giving. But instead to give freely out of the abundance of lavish love that God has pour out on us, through Jesus Christ.





PRAYER

Use this song as your confession and praise to Jesus today.


Pure - by Abbie Gamboa


"Not for anything that I could gain.

Just to honor You and bring You praise.

Like a fragrance broken on the floor.

May my worship (giving) be pure."


(The word "giving" added by me.)






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1 commentaire


robin.lorms
11 mai

Good morning, Mary Alice. Once again, you have me thinking. Last Saturday evening my wife and I took a single parent mother and her new date out for dinner in her home town. She works at Hobby Lobby, 34 hours a week for $18/hr. She has a depressed 28 year old daughter living with her who does not work and a pregnant 19 year old daughter about to give birth in 2 weeks. We gave her a fairly substantial gift and really had a great time. Now comes in Mary Alice asking the hard questions!!! As I examined our reasons for giving I can easily say repayment of any kind was not a motive. Neither was it to show some…


J'aime
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