Love: Our Motivation for Giving

How many people do you know who give to the poor but honestly do not care much for them? How often do we give to good causes without being emotionally involved? Is it possible that we give to the church and to the Lord out of mere obligation instead of  love?

Amy Carmichael, an Irish missionary to India once wrote that “You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving.”

In our churches, we do not need to teach giving, nor should we teach our obligation to give. We should preach God and his love! If we truly knew God and understood His love, we would be truly transformed by His love.

Once we are touched by the love of God, giving will be our natural response! We will no longer give alms to the poor because of social virtue nor to the church because we know we should. We will love and give because God loves and gives. In our sacrificial giving, we will become like Christ (Ephesians 5:1).

Reflecting God’s Perfect Love

God’s love for us is everlasting. That means that God’s love for us existed before we were born and will exist after we have died. It is an eternal love in which we are embraced. Living a spiritual life calls us to claim that eternal love for ourselves so that we can live our temporal loves – for parents, brothers, sisters, teachers, friends, spouses, and all people who become part of our lives – as reflections or refractions of God’s eternal love. No fathers or mothers can love their children perfectly. No husbands or wives can love each other with unlimited love. There is no human love that is not broken somewhere.

When our broken love is the only love we can have, we are easily thrown into despair, but when we can live our broken love as a partial reflection of God’s perfect, unconditional love, we can forgive one another our limitations and enjoy together the love we have to offer.

Henri Nouwen.