“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
Giving is a subject that a lot of churches are uncomfortable talking about. Since I don’t have anything to gain or lose by talking about it, I want to spend a little time on it today. Giving originated from God and He is the author of giving. He started the world by giving us His breath, then He freely gave His own Son for us and doesn’t hold back any good gift. He is generous and tells us we only need to ask to receive. (Matthew 7:7) So when God talks about giving in His Word it is not because He is after our stuff or our money. He is, however, after our hearts. Giving of your resources is a true indication of where your heart is. Matthew 6:21 says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” From this scripture we can without a doubt see that our heart and our treasure, or what is important to us, are connected.
Today’s scripture is only one of many that talks about giving. This one, however, is a little more specific because it tells us to plan ahead of time. It says give what you have purposed or planned ahead of time to give. Then you will not be giving grudgingly but be a cheerful giver! I recently saw this demonstrated clearly in my own life. At the beginning of the year, I recognized that I was struggling with opportunities to give in everyday life. When I would pass by someone needing help or see someone that I could bless in some way, I wasn’t always sure what to do, or give, or how much, or in what way. After talking to God about it, I was inspired to plan to give before the opportunity presented itself. I wasn’t quite sure how to do that, but I had an idea that I wanted to give in a way that would cause a person to look toward God with the gift. I got some cards with scripture on them and then asked God about an amount to give. I put it all in an envelope and kept it with me so that when occasions came to give I was ready and didn’t have to decide what the appropriate thing to do was. So last week, I was at an event that was taking a special offering for a specific need and as I considered what to do, I thought about how much cash I had on me and what I should give. So many thoughts went through my head about what I wasn’t going to be able to do if I gave that money. Then the LORD reminded me about the envelope I had already prepared ahead of time for giving. Oh, that was wonderful. It was a great gift that I didn’t have to worry about giving and there was no stress in giving it because I had already set it aside for giving. I had purposed in my heart and now I could give cheerfully instead of grudgingly. It was such a clear example of what the Holy Spirit was talking about in this passage.
Many other opportunities for giving can be planned out, so that they can be done cheerfully. Things such as a child fund for underprivileged children, or mission work, maybe community outreach or a building fund at your church. The point is, when you plan ahead of time what and where to give. It frees you from the stress, worry, and decision of the moment.
Today I want to encourage you to listen to the prompts of the Holy Spirit inside and He will let you know when and where to give your preplanned gifts. He is the true voice to follow. You don’t have to be led by guilt, necessity, or even a plea, but be ready ahead of time and all missed opportunities will be eliminated.
Today’s scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 9:1-7
1 Now concerning the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you; 2 for I know your willingness, about which I boast of you to the Macedonians, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal has stirred up the majority. 3 Yet I have sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this respect, that, as I said, you may be ready; 4 lest if some Macedonians come with me and find you unprepared, we (not to mention you!) should be ashamed of this confident boasting. 5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren to go to you ahead of time, and prepare your generous gift beforehand, which you had previously promised, that it may be ready as a matter of generosity and not as a grudging obligation. The Cheerful Giver 6 But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Solet each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.