I was thinking today about the actual act of giving. We all know that we are supposed to give of ourselves. We hear about it at least once every year. You know, about how we have to give of our time, talent, or treasure. I’ve always been a bit on the short side when it came to funds so I’ve tried to give whenever I could otherwise. I donate my blood through the Red Cross. I donate my hair every two or three years for the Locks for Love people. I signed up for the donor program where if my plasma is every needed directly, they can contact me. Or at least I think it’s plasma, I’m not one hundred percent certain anymore. I also sing in my church choir and help our choir director whenever I can.
I got to thinking however. We all know it’s important to help, give, and do good deeds. What got me thinking is our intent. Does it count in God’s eyes if we’re doing good deeds because we know we’re expected to do it? Or is it something much deeper than that? I remember my mom talking to my son one time. He had done something wrong, I can’t even tell you what anymore. He apologized, but she wasn’t very accepting. She asked him if he was sorry because it was wrong or if it was because she was upset with him.
Perhaps that’s the question we should be asking ourselves before we pray or before we go to confession. Are we apologizing to God for our misdeeds because we’re suddenly realizing that He’s been watching all this time and knows about it or are we truly sorry that it ever happened? Sure I’m sorry that I lied to my mom when I broke the cookie jar, but am I sorry because I know that God doesn’t want us to lie or because I spoke an untruth.
In addition to that, are our good deeds worth anything if we’re doing them to please God or because it’s the right thing to do? Is it like bring the shiny red apple to school for the teacher? Are we just trying to butter up the teacher only to find afterwards that she (or he) sees through our effort and still grades us fairly? I’ve heard people refer to an act of nicety as their good deed of the day. If you look at it like that, does it still remain a good deed?
We are supposed to follow in Jesus footsteps. I can’t imagine Him only helping people because it was expected of Him. I know that it’s harder for some of us than others, but we’re supposed to at least try to follow the right path. But is it the right path when we do it for the purpose of pleasing God, or for the purpose of actually helping people.