READING: Proverbs 25-26, 2 Corinthians 9
“God loves a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:7
I’ve always been a faithful giver to the Lord’s work. The church where I grew up challenged us to tithe, and I accepted that challenge even when I was a 16-year-old grocery store clerk. Whatever dollars I earned, I was sure to give to God first. I understand that many folks don’t believe the New Testament requires a tithe, but that was the standard I accepted as a young believer – and I’ve been careful to give that way for more than four decades. When I started pastoring as a 20-year-old, I was already in the habit of giving to God. For that reason, it’s always been easy for me to challenge other believers to give well.
That doesn’t mean, though, that I’ve always given with great joy. Sometimes I gave with worry, wondering all along if I’d have enough to pay my bills that month. At times, I’ve given with no thought about how God might take those gifts and multiply them to reach people groups around the world; instead, I gave because it was Sunday. My “offering” was just another bill, it seemed. I’m sure I occasionally gave “grudgingly or under compulsion” (2 Cor. 9:7), wanting deep down to keep the dollars to myself.
Some years ago, however, I began to learn more about God Himself as I spent more and more time in His Word. I realized that He could use my meager dollars to reach people in North America and around the world even while He provided “everything you need” (2 Cor. 9:8). He takes care of our needs so we might grow in righteousness as we learn to trust Him, and we might also extend “all generosity” to others who are then grateful for God’s gifts (2 Cor. 9:11). Amazingly, He who already gave His Son for us so that we might be saved still graciously gives to us when we ask.
For that kind of God, I’m happy to give to His work. Give generously and cheerfully, even, as I truly know that I cannot out-give Him.
- Give in a good spirit this week.
- In fact, give more sacrificially and cheerfully than you’ve ever done.
PRAYER: “God, thank You for the gifts You’ve given to me. Help me to give cheerfully in turn.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Proverbs 27-29, 2 Corinthians 10