What is the Motivation for Generosity?

April 2010
by Howard Freeman

The following is excerpted from a great resource called the Park Forum (theparkforum.org/), led by a congregant, and I thought it captured beautifully the generosity we see in the Cross. (Full post, called “Donor Motivations,” at theparkforum.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/morning-walk-donor-motivations-2-cor-8/).
 
A recent study showed almost 20% of donors give in order to help others meet basic needs (e.g., food, shelter, clothing) and 17% give in order to make the world a better place. But, what about giving because it feels good
or brings joy? 
 
Macedonian Motivations
The saints in Macedonia gave out of their abundant joy. “They begged (Paul) earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints” (2 Corinthians 8:4). They also gave out of their extreme poverty. As a result, they must have denied themselves the food and clothing that they would have bought for themselves. Yet, they took pleasure in sharing God’s grace with others. 
 
 
Cheerful Motivations of Love
Genuine love is more than how you feel or how you act. Paul offered the Macedonians [to the Corinthians] as examples of love because their giving was the outflow of their joy in God’s grace, not just because they gave generously. Paul continues, “Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9). 
 
In Gethsemane, Jesus “made up in his mind” to act in love and give from his extreme poverty. Would that we would be melted toward our family, friends and neighbors likewise.


<< Back to Table of Contents