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Our Sunday school lesson at church covered 1 Kings 17 the other week, and the passage prompted a lot of discussion. 1 Kings 17 is the chapter in which Elijah goes to the widow in Zarephath during the famine, finds her getting ready to make her last flour and oil into a cake for herself and her son, then proceeds to command her to make him a cake first. With the command went a promise – “Make me a cake first, and your flour and oil shall not run out until the Lord sends rain again.” (my paraphrase)
The widow complies, whether out of an obligation of hospitality, because she was a God-fearer and wanted to do right, or because she believed the promise of God through Elijah, we don’t know. What we do know is that God promised the widow that He would provide for her needs if she put Elijah’s needs before her own, and she complied and was blessed.
Thinking about the widow’s possible motives for obeying got me to thinking about my own life and my own motives for giving. This actually ties into salvation as well.
We have it easy today, don’t we? Like the widow, we are given the promise that we will be blessed abundantly when we give of ourselves. We have the greatest promise of all right here at our fingertips: the promise of salvation and eternal life if we submit to God. It only makes sense that we would cash in on such a promise. It only makes sense that we would do what God commands and give of ourselves when we know that we will be blessed because of it.
But should getting something back be my motive for giving – either giving my time/money/possessions to someone else or giving up my will to God (which is essentially salvation)?
Why do you give? Why do you submit?
Do you give because you will receive something back? Do you submit to God because you’ll get Heaven?
I first heard this concept several years ago, and it blew my mind. When I serve God because of what I will receive out of the deal, that is humanism. The motive is self-centered, and therefore it is humanistic.
In the sermon I heard regarding this subject, the question was asked, “Would you still serve God even if you got Hell?”
Your answer should be yes. Why? Because God deserves your worship because of Who He is. You should be serving God because He deserves it, not because of what you will get out of it.
This goes for giving, too. You should make a habit of giving of yourself to others because God deserves to be served in this way, not because you will be blessed accordingly.
Why are you serving God?