Give as an Act of Love
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son.”
This time of year, there is a lot of attention given to giving. Whether it’s shopping for personal gifts, donating to noteworthy organizations or meaningful projects – ‘tis the season. And during this season, we’re often reminded that it’s better to give than receive, but we aren’t always reminded why and as a result it doesn’t always ring true.
When you love, you give. But just because you give doesn’t mean you love. There are a lot of reasons why someone might give other than love. You can give because you feel obligated or guilty; you can give to maintain or elevate your reputation; you can give in an attempt to earn favor or receive something in return; you can give because you want to make a difference in the world or leave a personal legacy; you can give because it’s what all the cool kids are doing. If you think about it, it’s quite possible to give and care very little for the recipient.
It’s only better to give than receive when we give as an act of love, because when we love we participate in our intended purpose and reflect the very nature of God. John 3:16, one of the most recognizable Christian scriptures, plainly expresses how God’s love was made manifest to us: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son.” So then, God loved us, saw what we needed and gave – even though the gift was the best and costliest thing he had to offer. How different the world would be if we would all give like that – if we would all give the best we have to offer as an expression of our love.
Our culture encourages us to focus on giving – in a fantastic consumeristic fashion – during this season. But this isn’t a season to celebrate giving, it’s a season to celebrate love. We celebrate the fact that “God so loved the world,” and that he gave because of his love.
This season, may every gift you give be an act of love. Whether it’s a physical gift, your time and attention, or an act of benevolence, give in such a way that your love is the thing clearly communicated and received by the recipient. Make sure they know that it’s for them and not for you, that it’s about them and not about you, that you love them.