Giving for the Right Reason


In the community, Meg’s husband is generous and giving and the life of every party. He does favors for everyone and is the first to make a showy donation to a cause. But at home, he’s aloof, demanding, cutting and very controlling. With each new gift he tells my friend, “See how much I love you?” Outwardly, his life looks good, but he misses the mark when it comes to what God requires of him in loving his wife.

The Israelites were also guilty of making showy declarations of love for God, but those gifts were mere bribes. And God abhors such sacrifices. Micah told Israel that God was not impressed or pleased with the offerings of “thousands of rams” and “ten thousand rivers of olive oil” (Micah 6:7).

Instead, what God requires, what he says is good, is to act justly, with fairness and equity; to love mercy and kindness, to be steadfastly dependable, respectful and committed; and to walk humbly with God (see Micah 6:8).

So too in marriage spouses are called to live together sacrificially and with respect (see Ephesians 5:33). We are to “clothe [ourselves] with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” (Colossians 3:12). We are to “keep [our] lives free from the love of money and be content with what [we] have” (Hebrews 13:5).

We are to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above [ourselves], not looking to [our] own interests but each of [us] to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3–4).

The good life, according to Micah 6:8, is not diamonds stashed in fuzzy socks; it’s doing what is good.

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