Daily Devotion | Day 291
“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
God loves those whose heart is like His. That shouldn’t surprise us. Love attracts love. If you have followed this Devotional for a while, you probably have noticed a recurring theme, i.e. the likeness of character that should exist between us and our heavenly Father. Everything flows from this relationship. It is an indispensable framework for understanding our calling as Christians. The instructions in the Bible are given with the purpose of making us like our Father. God loves it when He sees His trait in us. And, we should be equally excited about the ability to demonstrate the character of our good Father.
Giving is one area where you have an opportunity to be like your Father in heaven.
Paul mobilized churches to support other churches that were in need, especially the church in Jerusalem. The church in Corinth was one of those churches that had committed to giving. In today’s opening passage, Paul is reminding them to make their offering ready. In doing so, Paul took the opportunity to briefly explain the spirit (and the blessings) behind Christian giving. Let’s look at two related points which Paul addressed in the passage.
Firstly, he says, “let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity.” God wants you to give. But He doesn’t want you to give grudgingly or out of pressure. If you feel ‘pressured,’ keep your money or donation. If your heart is not fully in the giving, again, keep your goods to yourself.
God cares about the attitude of your heart when you give. Whenever you’re asked to give or you’re giving, God looks at your heart. He knows if you’re grumbling or if you’re giving out of pressure. He wants you to give because you want to give. He wants you to freely determine in your heart how generously you want to give.
If you give grudgingly, especially in the Church, it’s offensive to Christ.
Therefore, when you give, it’s important that your heart is completely in your gift. Giving is a basic Christian virtue. If you know the God you’re serving and you understand why you’re a Christian, no one needs to convince you about the importance of giving generously from your heart. If you need convincing, your heart isn’t for Christ yet.
Secondly, Paul writes, “God loves a cheerful giver.” This point flows naturally from the previous point. Notice Paul’s choice of words. He didn’t say, “God loves a giver.” He said, “God loves a cheerful giver.” Merely giving doesn’t do you any good. In fact, there are instances where giving can even get you in trouble. Recall the story of Cain (Genesis 4:3-7) or Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11). In both stories, the people involved all gave. Yet, God rejected their giving. Don’t be like them.
If you give, don’t grumble. If you grumble, don’t give.
God is thrilled when you give cheerfully. A cheerful giver gives with a smiling face and a joyful heart. God doesn’t want you to give and be worrying about how your giving is impacting your taxes or your bills. If you’re unable or are not ready to give, that’s fine. But when you choose to give, it must be God’s way: cheerful giving.
Your Father in heaven is a cheerful giver. Imitate Him.
Blessing: May the Lord remember your generous giving and increase you beyond your expectations. In Jesus Name. Amen.
For further study: Deuteronomy 15:7-11; John 3:16, and Acts 2:41-47; 4:33-37; 5:1-11