Why Do You Give?


Confession: I am a guilty giver.

For most of my life—especially after I visited Uganda for the first time—my financial gifts were motivated by an overwhelming sense of guilt. Guilt over how much I had, compared to how little the children there had. Guilt over the luxuries I enjoyed just by virtue of living in the United States, compared to the struggle that was daily life for an orphaned child in Uganda. 

Can you relate? Why do you give? 
Now that a huge part of my job is essentially asking people to give money to help children in Africa and the Caribbean, God has been revealing to me my own motivations for giving. 
And teaching me that there is a better way. 
Sometimes my giving is motivated by guilt over how much I have
            Sometimes my giving is motivated by guilt over how much I have in comparison with children in Africa. 
You might have heard of the book, Desiring God, by John Piper. In it, Piper explains that our pursuit of God should not be motivated by guilt or moralism, but by a genuine desire for our own greatest joy. 
Isn't that one of the best reasons to give? 
Think about the best gift you've ever received. Opening the present probably brought you great joy. But, probably not as much as the person who gave it to you, who couldn't stop smiling as they watched you open it. 
I like to imagine that is how God looks when we receive His gift of salvation. And I'm pretty sure that's how many of you look when you send in your monthly check for your sponsored child, or purchase a gift from the COTN gift catalog. The simple act of giving brings you great joy. And in time, you begin to desire that kind of joy more than material things. 
I want to give out of joy for all God has done for me
I want to give out of joy for all God has done for me, and for the joy I get knowing my gift is blessing someone else. 
As I was writing articles for the COTN Christmas gift catalog this year, I did an interview with a woman who has made it a tradition to give all her Christmas gifts through the COTN gift catalog. "These gifts bring true joy," she said, and I could almost see her smile beaming through the phone.
Our theme for the Christmas gift catalog this year is "giving joy to the world." I hope that as you give your gifts this year, you can continue to taste the incomparable joy that comes from giving in this way. I pray that would be your primary motivation. And I hope I can be faithful in reporting back to you the incredible joy your gifts bring to the children!
Marie and her Bible