We have all seen it: the “big donor” moment at a charity event, when someone is introduced to the audience as a major contributor to the fundraising campaign. The donor and the presenter smile for the cameras as they shake hands over a gigantic cardboard replica of a large check written out to the charity. Everyone in the audience applauds and pats the donor on the back as he returns to his seat.
Perhaps that individual is, in fact, a warm-hearted and generous person. Or maybe he is focused on “doing good to do well,” hoping to increase his worldly success by showing off his generosity. We may never know.
On Valentine’s Day, couples will flock to restaurants to celebrate their love. Many will buy flowers, cards, or candy for “that special someone.” But as with many holidays, for some it will just be about tradition or merely for show. That big bouquet of roses won’t make up for the harsh words said that morning. A diamond pendant won’t mean much if it was purchased more out of obligation rather than heartfelt affection.
The mantra “actions speak louder than words” says a lot, but it doesn’t say it all. God says even good deeds don’t matter much if they aren’t done with the right spirit; and according to Jesus, the only spirit that counts is love.
When we give from the heart, instead of for show, it becomes less about the giver and more about the gift. We don’t need to be recognized for all we do to show we care. God sees it all. Our gifts may be small or large, but with Him, it’s not just the thought that counts. It’s the heart.
“Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” ~Matthew 6:4
“The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” ~1 Samuel 16:7
“If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.”~1 Corinthians 13:3