Why do we help people? Why do we give to people in need? Why do we do anything for others that takes away from ourselves? Do we do it because that’s what we are supposed to do? Or do we do it because in the back of our minds we are thinking that if we do something for someone else or give to someone in need we will be blessed in return? Do we ever actually do anything without expecting something in return?
I think that a lot of times we end up helping or giving to others with the expectation that we will be blessed in return. We may not consciously think about it, but I’m sure we would all admit that we get disappointed if we do something for someone else and then something bad (or nothing good) happens to us soon after. We think to ourselves, “Why is this happening to me?” or “I give and give and constantly help people – so why doesn’t anything good happen to me?”
The reason we get disappointed is because our expectations were not met. Our expectation is that if we are generous or do something good for someone else, we will receive blessings because of our actions. Those expectations come from constantly being told that if we are generous, we will be blessed because of it.
For some, it is the promise of financial blessing as a result of giving that motivates them. Others are told, “God might not bless you monetarily, but…” just in case they don’t receive any financial blessings because of what they do. The problem is that even when we qualify it with that statement, it puts the thought and expectation in our head that if we do good and are generous we will be blessed because of our actions, whether financially or otherwise.
I realize that the Bible makes reference to this (Psalm 112:5; Proverbs 11:25; Proverbs 22:9; etc.) and I believe that God does bless those who are generous, but we need to check our motives from time to time and make sure that we are being generous and helping others with pure intentions. We need to stop thinking about what will happen after the fact and start helping people just because they need help, especially when helping someone or being generous means that we will be put in a difficult position.
I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to all this. I like to think that I am a generous person and that I am willing to help anyone that I see in need, but when it comes down to it I am just as selfish and self-centered as anyone else. It’s easy to help people when it’s convenient for us and when it doesn’t make our lives any more difficult, but the times when we are truly generous are when we don’t think about how it will affect us or what will happen after we help that person. If we help people and give to those in need and don’t think about how it affects us or our situation, then our motives are pure and we will be blessed.