A Cheerful Heart
by Chrystlyn Edwards
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As I write this, I am facing unexpected and uncomfortable financial challenges. However, I choose to be obedient and give to Godís Kingdom with a cheerful heart- regardless of the circumstances.
This is not the first time I have been met with financial adversity. See, I grew up in poverty. So, when these current challenges came to me, I felt the emotion that was familiar for me growing up- fear. Because of this emotion, I was tempted not to give anymore. Then, I remembered that God is always faithful. He has brought me through so much, and I know He will come through for me again. He is patiently reminding me that He did not give me a spirit of fear. Therefore, He is teaching me not to fear lack, but to just trust Him to provide for my needs. As I am learning to be an excellent steward of His resources, He is giving me the freedom to give with a cheerful heart (2 Tim. 1:7; Mt. 6:33; 2 Cor. 9:7).
My primary catalyst for choosing to give despite my discomfort is love. Godís love is my motivation in choosing to be obedient. It is this same love that casts out any fear that tries to paralyze me (1 John 4:18).
I believe the epitome of Godís love is generosity. It is an extension of His love for us. Therefore, the generosity we extend to others is a reflection of His heart for humanity.
The most prolific and significant example of Godís generosity to us was His Only Son. Jesus Christís selfless sacrifice is the ultimate example of how giving reflects His love for us. Without this monumental event in history, humanity would not have a chance or a choice to have eternal life.
As I have studied the Gospel, with an open heart, God has shown me that regardless of the excruciating torture and death Christ endured, He was at peace in His heart. Since He knew He was fulfilling the Kingdomís purposes to give us the opportunity to choose to have a relationship with the Father, He knew in His heart He was doing the right thing.
In studying the Gospel, God has proven to me that cultivating a generous spirit comes through prayer and pain. We can sow in sorrow, but reap in joy while fulfilling His Purpose through us (Psalm 30:5; 126:5-6).
I know I will never fully comprehend, nor feel what Christ experienced on the cross, but I know He Ė the Holy Spirit- lives in me. Therefore, He enables me to strive to exhibit His characteristic of generosity.
Being selfless is not just about giving away money and possessions. Instead, it is about being emotionally available to others and sensitive to their needs. It is about sharing our lives and the Gospel so unbelievers can choose to come to Christ.
Being selfless is a reflection of peace in our hearts because we are secure in having a deep, satisfying, and intimate relationship with God. As a result of the peace in our hearts, we put our trust in Him in obedience, while trusting Him to supply our needs according to His Will.
God has allowed people to be generous to me in various ways because I chose to be obedient and risks for Him, by stepping out on faith. He has provided for my needs countless times. For example, in my seasons of unemployment, He always given me more than enough money to help others, pay bills, and take care of other necessities. Currently, I am on public transportation, which can be difficult sometimes, but God has always allowed people to bless me, by providing me with a ride to my destination. Even though I doubt God in my heart sometimes, I know He will continue to provide for my needs. For I know He will remain faithful, when I am faithless (2 Tim. 2:13).
Because of people choosing to be generous with what God has given them, I continue to be inspired. Therefore, I have made the choice to open my heart and spirit to look for opportunities to be used by God to give to those who are close to His heart (Mt. 19:14; 25:35-36). My desire is to be a blessing to those who are less fortunate.
I have witnessed that God loves a cheerful heart with a generous spirit. As we give cheerfully, He will not only fulfill His promises in and through us; but He will allow us to reap what we have sown abundantly until it overflows (Gal. 6:7; Eph. 3:20; Mal. 3:10; Heb. 11:6).
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Thank you for this. I remember being fearful about finances too, and where the fear came from. I realized I was fine at that moment, and that's all God gives us. He always saw me through. Always. Blessings.
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