Originally posted by Grampy Bobby
Absolutely. Christian giving is about motivation. We don't give to receive in return, to impress others with our generosity or even with the notion of being blessed by God. Grace concept is reflected in the "widow's mite." She gave all that she had in faith believing, even though it was only a penny or two. We don't give grudgingly or of necessity but by choice. God approves of a cheerful giver.
when gifts are given - there are two motivations at work
One is the "marketplace" -- you give me a product or service and I give you something (usually money) in return -- and the other is the "true act of giving"
When you buy something in a store, the seller need not have any compassion for you - you're just a customer. When you go to a restaurant, you know that the person cooking your food or serving your table aren't showing how much they "care" about you. As such, these are not "true acts of giving" - they're merely transactions. Of course, none of these things are in of themselves bad. But it is bad if all human activity gets reduced to this mentality.
What Jesus is saying is that the test of whether an action is truly an act of giving is whether the person would still do that action if they received nothing in return for it - or especially if the person actually had to incur a great deal of suffering. This is why he talks about giving dinners for the poor and about loving one's enemy.
But the same mentality should definitely apply when giving to family and friends that you care about. And this gift-giving mentality should apply, to some extent, even to the marketplace - the employee shouldn't be thinking only about his paycheck - the business owner shouldn't be thinking only about his profits.