‘Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.’ — 2 Corinthians 9:7
When I was younger, we used to say we were ‘pumped’ when we were excited about something. In 1 Corinthians 9, Paul talks about a ‘cheerful giver’, someone that we might say is ‘pumped about giving’. But why would anyone be excited about giving away what they have? Well, here are some reasons a Christian might be excited to give:
- We are motivated by the example of others. In 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, Paul talks to the Corinthians about the sacrificial giving of the Macedonians (8:1-5). And Paul had previously talked to the Macedonians about the eager giving commitments of the Corinthians (8:11-12; 9:2-4). Paul used positive stories of the faith and example of others to motivate. Provoking to love and good works is one of the reasons we should meet together (Heb 10:24-25).
- We want to reap bountifully (2 Cor 9:6). Unfortunately, abuse of this truth by prosperity gospel preachers has almost made us afraid to expect blessings for giving. But, God does bless those who give. His blessings may not always be health, wealth, and prosperity, but they are most certainly good and a blessing. And we know that the more we sow, the more we reap. So let us sow bountifully and expect bountiful blessings.
- We desire to give (2 Cor 9:7-11). Verse 7 verse tells us to give as we purpose in our hearts, not grudgingly or of necessity, but with cheerful desire. The idea here is that the Holy Spirit of God is going to move the Spirit-filled believer to want to give. The most natural thing for a believer who had God’s grace abounding in them, supplying their needs, enriching them, is to want to allow that grace and generosity to overflow to others. If Christians don’t want to give, then some is wrong. God is a gracious God, and God’s people should be gracious people. Let us yield to God’s Spirit and allow Him to stir us up to good works and generous living.
- We want to help others (2 Cor 9:12). The offering being collected was for a very specific need, the financial needs of the Christians in Jerusalem (Romans 15:25-27). Love for others and those in need will cause us to do what we can to help. What a blessing to be used of God to supply what others are lacking! What a blessing to be God’s channel of blessing to others!
- We want God to be glorified (2 Cor 9:13-15). God has given the most wonderful, ‘unspeakable’ give of Himself to us. When we are generous to others, God is glorified and honoured by our giving. Giving is literally an act of worship to God. In Psalm 96:8, we read, ‘Bring an offering, and come into his courts.’ To worship was to come with an offering. And, as God blesses us, may we bring what we have and are to God as an act of worship, to glorify God for His unspeakable kindness to us!
How do you feel about giving? Excited or reluctant? Annoyed or enthusiastic. I really don’t think you can be neutral about giving. It is an emotional thing. You either give grudgingly or cheerfully.
God loves the cheerful giver. And I want to be that type of giver. If I begrudging giving, then I need to look at my heart and figure out why. We have been given the most amazing, most incredible, and most sacrificial grace ever. The more we understand and appreciate that, the more we will want to be gracious and generous to others!