What are our Motives for Giving?

My 6 year old daughter decided to make my bed this morning, supposedly out of the sweetness and goodness of her young heart. Of course, I was very pleasantly surprised at this act of kindness and quite impressed at how well she did. She even folded our white quilt up at the end like I always do (actually she did a better of job of this than my husband does). So, I praised her and commented on how nice a job she did. She beamed with pride. IMG_2110End of story right? Nope. For the next thirty minutes or longer she was an addict to the praise along with then asking if she could have a candy reward(I often allow them to indulge in the candy jar as a reward for hard work) She wanted to show everyone how good a job she had done and wanted me to tell her over and over how nice she was for doing it. After she had bragged about her good deed for the umpteenth time, I tried to changed the subject and went on with my chores. My husband comes home and what does she do–Meets him at the door with the great news of her good deed for the day. He notices her good bed-making skills and proceeds to give some more praise. It then occurred to me that she had become addicted to the praise and I asked her, “Sofie, did you make our bed because you wanted to do something nice for us or did you make our bed because you wanted to get praised for it?” “When you do something nice for someone, its ok to receive some praise but it isn’t really a good deed from the heart if you do it for the praise only.”

How many times do we as God’s children often do things with selfish motives? Do we help our neighbor’s because we want to help? or out of a desire to please God? or charity?  You know…do unto others as you’d have done unto yourself. Or do we help because we know there’s a favor we really need done for us later on? There are some people that actually won’t even form friendships with others unless these people can be of some benefit to them in life – a sort of “social status climbing”, I suppose.

How many times have you seen people doing some noble thing and then posting about it on Facebook or talking about it enough that the charm has worn off? If we need praise for all the good things we do in this life then our motive is no longer noble or out of true heartfelt kindness and love. On the contrary, its for our own glory and praise. Now, don’t get me wrong, I believe we all could use a little more praise in this life at times, but when the praise and glory becomes what motivates you, then its source isn’t love.

…whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.     I Corinthians 10:31

1”Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.2“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.5“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.                                               (Matthew 6:1-5)


  1. WOW! I am impressed with the bed making. Poor child is going to be sorry she proved she could do that good of a job. Now you will expect no less. My little girl begged and begged to wash dishes so I pulled up a chair to the sink and let her. To my surprise she did a very good job. She soon grew very tired of the task and no longer wanted to do it for any amount of praise. Of course the need for praise is something that is natural in a 6 year old but I have known adults that still need that kind of praise if they ever do a good dead you will hear about it over and over again as they brag upon theirself. Maybe they did not get any praise when they were 6.

  2. My husband has now decided since “she does a better job than him” that she should do it every day. (: I’m sure that she will grow very tired of this very soon. If I could just get her to make her own bed this well, I will be doing something since her bed is on the top bunk. We all know top bunks are a booger to make! And yes, I agree, that many people must have missed some praise by their parents as children, since they seem to thrive on it in adulthood.

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