God Loves a Cheerful Giver… So Should You Wait to Give?

Some people are excellent gift-givers. They are thoughtful, considerate, and attentive. They always seem to know exactly what a person would like, even if that person doesn’t know themselves. Gifts from people like this aren’t just presents; they are a showcase of how well a person know and cares for another.

What makes a person a great gift-giver? There has to be some natural talent to it, but it also has to be a skill they work at and pay attention to. In the end, though, I suspect one of the things that makes a person a great gift-giver is simply that they want to be one. To put it another way, they are great gift-givers because they enjoy it.

There is a cheerfulness about the way they give – not a grudgingness. No generic, store bought cards for folks like this – no, there is great thought and effort put into gifts, but that thought and effort is not done grudgingly – it’s done with enjoyment. Cheerfully. And knowing that cheerfulness is behind the gift only makes it all the more meaningful to the one receiving it.

And so now we come to a specific command in the New Testament around the topic of giving:

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:6-7).

Of course God loves a cheerful giver, and we know why. It’s because a cheerful giver knows that all we have belongs to God anyway. A cheerful giver recognizes how richly God has blessed us. A cheerful giver is glad for the chance to participate in God’s mission and is happy for the opportunity to store up treasures in heaven.

No, we don’t have questions about why God loves a cheerful giver; the question is whether we should wait to give until we can do so cheerfully.

There are all kinds of reasons why we might struggle with the cheerfulness part. Times might be tough. Tuition payments might be coming due. There might be something else we have been saving for, and we’re going to have to delay that car or TV or whatever. And here is where we ought to draw the line between giving, even though it’s difficult, and giving out of a sense of obligation. Those are two different things.

By way of example, let’s say that you have a chance to give to a new ministry at the church. It’s going to take significant capital to get it off the ground, so you listen to some presentations, and you agree that the ministry is worthwhile. But then you look at your budget, and you recognize that if you are going to give to this it means that you’ll have to explain to your family that the vacations for the next two years are going to be less than what you’ve done in the past. You don’t like it; you aren’t cheerful about giving up your vacation. But you decide to go ahead and give anyway because you know it’s the right thing to do.

But then again, let’s say you’re in the same scenario. Same need. Same presentations. But you decide to give because you are worried how it will look if you don’t. And you think somebody will probably make you feel guilty if you don’t pony up.

These are two different scenarios, and in only the first one is giving the right thing, even though in neither case are you cheerful. So what’s the difference?

Faith. In the first scenario, you might not be cheerful about it now, but you act in faith. And most of the time, when we act in faith, even if our emotions aren’t quite there, it’s only a matter of time until the emotions catch up. You act, and then you feel. You do what Paul told the Corinthians – you aren’t giving reluctantly; you resolve to give and then you do it trusting that Jesus was right when He said that it is better to give than receive.

Giving is an opportunity, friends. Yes, it’s an opportunity to participate in the work of God, but it’s also an opportunity to put faith into action. Even if the faith is in that our emotions will catch up eventually.

 

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