Give freely, and you will profit. Help others, and you will gain more for yourself. (Proverbs 11:25 ERV)
My pastor asked this question this weekend about giving and serving - do we give and serve without caring who gets the credit? It is quite telling to actually take inventory of each action behind our service to see if we are secretly desiring some credit or acknowledgement for what it is we have done. If we are honest, we might not always serve without the intent of getting the "credit we are due".
As my pastor aptly said, the generosity of Jesus is what actually provides our ability to relate to God - for without that generosity, we'd still have sin between us and the throne of God. There is nothing accomplished within the church that doesn't stem from the first act of generosity. The simplest example of generosity is revealed in how we care for one another.
How do we care for each other? One of the ways we can reveal our sincerity in caring is through the generosity of our grace (even when the other guy or gal doesn't deserve ANY grace at all). We need to be radical in our generosity as it applies to grace, but it is probably the hardest thing for us to give without expecting anything in return. You can give without loving - but to really extend grace, we must give out of love.
Be generous long enough and it will become a natural part of who we are. Automatically we will respond with generosity - in grace, love, and compassion toward others. Just sayin!