“Little need be said on the subject of ALMSGIVING. The example so fully set by the Apostles was nobly followed by the Church. The East and the West vied with each other in their generous care of the widow and orphan, the sick, the poor and the captive, in the relief of all who were in distress, far off or near. But a danger lay in the tendency, early developed, to regard acts of charity as meritorious in themselves, as entries on the right side of the ledger in the account between the soul and God. We find this erroneous notion beginning to show itself as early as in the Shepherd of Hermas. “If you do any good beyond what is commanded by God, you will gain for yourself more abundant glory, and will be more honoured by God than you would other wise be.” — Edward Backhouse, Early Church History from the Death of Constantine.
Throughout history we find this erroneous notion of giving to “gain from God” in place in many religious sects around the world. The populace as a whole believes that if they do this or that for God, they will be blessed of God. Not so. God does not give based on what WE do for him. God’s blessings are not guaranteed anyone just because they go beyond what God commands us to do. In fact, there are some people who will even use “giving” as a means to get from others what they desire for themselves. Preachers are notorious in doing this. They gain for themselves by forcing this “rule” of giving onto the backs of their congregants. There are even some sects that teach that if they give their life for their “God” that they will gain this or that from God in heaven. How deceitful this thinking is. Little do they realize that they cannot command God to give because of anything they do or do not do. God does not operate within the confines and parameters of man’s finite thinking.
Many Christians also believe that if they attend church, serve in the ministry, have a bus route, sing in the choir, go knocking on doors to tell people how to be saved, etc., etc., that God will surely bless them. Sadly, they soon find that the trials of life are no respecter of persons. Christians and non-Christians alike will suffer hardships; service or good deeds are not the STANDARD by which God doles out his hand of blessing. They are not the measure by which God chooses who he is pleased with!
Usually, one who is “giving to get” from God, no matter what it is they are wanting from him, is only thinking about themselves. They attend church to gain God’s blessings. They work in the ministry to gain God’s blessings. They do this or that for others, to gain God’s blessings. That’s selfish. They are only thinking about themselves and no one else. Or, are they doing this out of fear that God will punish them if they don’t? Again, that fear is selfish! Either way, they are focused on themselves and what God will do for them if they do this or that. Who sincerely would want to bless a selfish person? I mean, really bless. It is only when we get our eyes off ourselves and our wants and needs and onto blessing others, and, being a blessing to others without ulterior motives of receiving in kind from ANYONE, even GOD, that we will see the hand of God move in our lives to bless. It is the good things that we do for others that no one else sees, that moves God’s hand of blessing in our lives. Sadly, most have forgotten that. Many have become so desperate for themselves and their needs, that they have forgotten that they are not alone in their need. Many others are in the same situation. If only they were indeed genuinely concerned for their fellow man and gave, out of their need, to help another in need, would they unlock the door to the storehouses of God’s blessings in their lives.
I am sure some may disagree with me on this issue, and that’s okay. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. . . and so, I am entitled to mine. If you disagree, then amicably “agree to disagree with me.”