"...for God loves a cheerful giver." II Corinthians 9:7
We've all heard this passage, and right before the offering is taken at church seems to be a likely time to hear it. Depending on how your mind works, your next thought might be "So, does God NOT love a 'grumpy giver'?"
The Bible is resoundingly clear on the fact that God loves us all, no matter our disposition toward giving. Our attitude when dropping that check in the plate (or in the mail) isn't going to influence His great sacrifice for us, won't change the fact that He sent His son to die on the cross for us.
Instead, our attitude provides a measuring tool for US to use-what is my mind-set? Am I giving reluctantly or under compulsion (cited in the same verse)? Am I giving out of a sense of duty, or even habit? Am I giving for appearances only? Am I giving THIS so that God will bless me with THAT? All of these should throw up a "red flag," warning us that something is not quite right in our relationship with the Lord. God uses attitude reviews, in whatever area, as His way of drawing us closer to Him.
God also uses your offering or donation for His purposes, even if the motives in giving were less than admirable. Imagine how much has been done around the world, by countless individuals, churches, and organizations, because people gave, whether cheerfully or not so cheerfully. His feeding of the 5,000 in the Bible is a powerful example of what God can do with seemingly minimal resources, and He is still working great miracles of provision and rescue today.
One more thought: GIVING CAN BE FUN! Rub the palms of your hands together, grin broadly, and really let your mind wander off into the future: How will the life of this child be changed because I'm sending my sponsorship support today? How many might be fed with this very donation to the Feeding Program?
And don't you just love the sound of a little kid laughing? Think and dream about how many times that delightful chorus will ring out because you made a donation to the Childcare Gift Fund to help provide Christmas gifts! That laughter will echo into eternity.
So, practice applying these truths when you give...
* God can and will fruitfully utilize your gifts, whatever the projected emotions behind them are.
* God can use your willingness to examine your heart to make your communion with Him broader, deeper, sweeter.
* And God loves you, grumpy or cheerful. He loves you when you give, grumpily or cheerfully...
but cheerful giving is much more fun.
September 29, 2003
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Brenda, thanks for the insights. When I first accepted Christ, I had problems with tithing, but soon came to actually enjoy it. Giving can give great joy to the giver as well as to the recipient of the gift, for in doing so we act in the spirit of our Father, who gave us the greatest gift of all.