This seems like a contradiction, but giving can often times be a selfish deed. In fact, “selfish giving” runs ramped in our society filled with people looking for recognition. Consider the following examples of giving that we commonly see in our everyday lives.........
1. The guy who buys a round of drinks on MasterCard for everyone who is ponied up to the bar. That’s a nice gesture. But if you are buying the drinks to be the cool guy, and MasterCard is actually the one footing the bill; then your motive is not pure.
2. The professional athlete who suddenly starts giving to charity for the first time after being caught cheating on his wife with his teammate’s wife. It seems this athlete’s motive is saving his reputation, rather than saving the world from cancer.
3. The woman who finds herself struggling financially because she lives way beyond her means. So she starts tithing to her church out of guilt, hoping God will respond by taking care of her financial “needs”. As if God is a genie waiting to grant her wish!
Are these instances of authentic giving, or selfish giving? Let’s dive deeper...
First, let’s define selfish giving.
Selfish is defined by Dictionary.com as “being concerned primarily with one’s own interest, benefits, welfare, etc. regardless of others”.
Giving is defined by Dictionary.com as “presenting or delivering voluntarily (something that is one’s own) to the permanent possession of another” or “presenting voluntarily without expecting compensation”.
If giving involves presenting something that is one’s own, than our bar friend above who is giving with a credit card is not really “giving” (if the credit card charge isn't paid back on the next bill). He is a selfish giver.
If giving means presenting without expecting compensation, than the athlete we admire is not really “giving” (since he is hoping to save face with his charitable contribution). He is a selfish giver.
If giving is to be done voluntarily, than our tither is not really “giving” (if her act is out of obligation and in hopes of restoring her financial health). She is a selfish giver.
True giving is a matter of the heart, not for recognition or expectation of something in return.
We all need to challenge ourselves when giving. We should analyze our giving motives. Are we giving with a pure heart from money that is actually ours?
What are your thoughts on selfish giving? Do you think there is such a thing?