Character Council

Who We AreBuilding CharacterEndorsing OrganizationsNewsroomHow to Get Involved

Character Ministries


General Faith-Based Resources

Christian Faith

Contributing Authors

Orientation Bulletin

Character and Christianity

General Sermons

General Studies

Other General Resources

49 Character Qualities

Jewish Faith

Other Faiths

Faith Community Strategies

Character Communities

Benevolence vs. selfishness

"Giving to others' basic needs without having as my motive personal reward"

 BENEVOLENCE - A Four-Minute Sermon

Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky


Contributed by Clyde C. Miller

Senior Pastor (Retired), First Christian Assembly, Cincinnati, OH

May 5, 2001





I.   Introduction: "Freewill Offerings"
II. Let's Look at Benevolence
III. The Greatest Benevolence
IV.  True Benevolence and Good Will
V.  Conclusion: A World of Benevolence 


Have you ever heard of "Freewill offerings"? Does such a term imply that there are offerings that aren't given of one's free will? - Well, yes!

An amazing story is told of a pastor who was determined to raise $100,000 for the building fund from his quite conservative church. So the story goes, he instructed the church custodian to bore tiny holes in the church pews about every 18 inches. Into each hole was inserted a copper contact wire which was connected to a continuous wire, which in turn, was connected to an electrical switch.

" When I ask, 'how many will contribute $1000.00 to our building fund, stand up,' you throw the switch", he instructed his custodian. That Monday the local paper carried this headline: "Local Church raises $99,000.00. Electrocutes One Deacon." Benevolence? NO!


"Brother Webster's" Dictionary helps us out here: definition: L. bene, good; volence, of the will; Hence benevolence is that kindly generosity to all. It springs from good will and the desire to bless others and to be generous with them because you really want to. That kind of spirit always keeps the motive for giving pure.


And the greatest act of benevolence which involved giving is described in Philippians 2:5-6: "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in the very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled Himself and became obedient to the cross." And Hebrews 2:9-10: "... He suffered many things, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. In bringing many sons to glory..."


Jesus did all of this in GREAT GOOD WILL. In fact, when Christ's birth was announced, He was described as a Savior, born because God intended "peace on earth and good will toward men." He meant to give because He saw all who needed love and forgiveness, - qualities He had in abundance, and He decided to give them because they were His to give.


Now, to all who decide to live under Christ's mantle, He will distribute of His Spirit Who will enable them to live a life of abundance; that is, a life of good will and generosity to mankind. We, too, then will become aware of three essential factors involved in benevolence:
  1. The apparent need of another person.
  2. Our ability to meet that need.
  3. A desire to do so.

Think of what a wonderful world this could be if all of us decided to be benevolent people!

 Yes, Lord, may our tribe increase!


This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.