True generosity to others should be an outpouring from every Christian’s faith, and I’m not just speaking of money.
I have found that the more my faith grows the more I want to help others grow their faith. That’s how this web site materialized, since I’ve found that people don’t always need to be preached to for a desire for spiritual growth. Many times, they just need some good tools, reminders and inspirations.
For myself and many Christians, we are not really gifting to individuals. We are gifting to God, who gratefully receives all gifts offered. Though God doesn’t need anything from us and only wants our love, He told us in Matthew 25:40, “What you do for the least of these, you do for Me!” This is gifting. It’s doing something above and beyond the normal good works of helping others. You gift because you love God, and only for that reason.
I have found, however, that this generosity from faith is cause for suspicion for some people. “What does she want?” “What is she trying to prove?” “Oh, she’s showing off.”
In a couple of different parishes of which I’ve been a member, I’ve heard parishioners make derogatory statements about parish council members. “They really think they’re something!” “They just want to tell everyone else what to do.” I can tell you from having been on parish councils, it’s a lot of work and a thankless job. Generally, those on parish councils or any leadership role in a church are dedicated to their faith, want to see their church grow, and do the job because no one else will.
These acts are gifts from a spiritual person, who usually is not looking for anything in return. So, unless you are asked for something in return:
- Cheerfully accept such gifts with humility,
- Don’t worry about if the giver has an ulterior motive,
- Be grateful, and
- Most importantly, thank God for the service done for you or your church.
If the gifter truly is trying to prove something or be “the big cheese”, then let that be between him/herself and God. (Matthew 6:1-2, “Be careful not to parade your good deeds before men to attract their notice; by doing this, you will lose all reward from your Father in heaven.”)
To assume a negative motive means that you have not acted/thought the way God would wish you to act/think. (Proverbs 16:28, “A troublemaker sows strife, a talebearer divides friend from friend.”)
And, the next time someone is gossiping about a church volunteer in a negative manner, stick up for them, or at the very least don’t participate. Assume they are doing whatever as a gift to God — and give it a try yourself! Gifting is much more rewarding than sitting back and doing nothing.
by Patricia Hawke
Copyright 2008, Patricia Hawke