Are You a Cheerful Giver?

Cheerful Giver

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 Corinthians 9:7

The current attitude that is hitting the pew is the idea that since God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7) then you only need to tithe whatever amount you can “cheerfully” part with, whether it be two percent, five percent, ten percent, or none. Is this true and is this biblical?

Some people interpret these thoughts and behaviors to mean if they don’t resent the amount they are tithing, and as long as they can feel happy, content, and generous about whatever amount they tithe, then, they can say they are “cheerful” givers. I do not believe that is what God intended at all. Look at the text in context. Since all that we have comes from Him, we should be cheerful and grateful that He allows us to keep the gross majority of what we are given.  We should focus on being cheerful for what He has done for us! So many countries, governments, and agencies require a lot more from us than God does. The fact that He allows us to enjoy such a large part of His blessing should be a great source of happiness to everyone. Yet, so many begrudge Him even the little they are willing to return.

This concept of giving out of our conveniences is directly in opposition to what Scripture says (although nicely convenient!).

Our giving “cheerfully” is the response of our gratitude for what He did for us, not a convenience to our wallets! We may not be mandated to give an exact amount or percentage, since we are under grace and not the law as the Puritans argued, but they gave way more than a mere ten percent! So, look at this verse in its context (2 Cor. 9:6-15), especially verse six, and you will see that this popular thinking is wrong!

This passage is an illustration of farming (Job. 4:8; Prov. 11:18; 22:8; Hos. 8:7; 10:12). Thus, when you give, your gift will be used as a seed that grows into a crop. The more you give, the more bounty there will be in the Kingdom. Both the seed of the gift and the maturity of the person who gives will grow. This is what Paul calls sufficiency, which means to be content in all circumstances. The opposite would be to be self-sufficient, and the book of Jeremiah tells us how much God hates that!

Thus, we need to strive to see the beauty of giving and be cheerfully motivated. And, by the way, this passage has nothing to do with tithing; it was about giving to the poor!

 

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Getting our Hearts Centered On What Is Important PII

Matthew 6:19-24

Have you had possessions that claimed your identity and devotion? How and why? What can you do to rid yourself of those false devotions?

You cannot serve two masters: When your attention is divided, you cannot be attentive to either one. In biblical times slaves rarely had more than one owner. That would have been foolish, as their time, interests, and commitment would have been divided. When it did happen, it almost always meant disaster. Just as people try to work two jobs, although sometimes it is necessary for financial reasons, one’s commitment will be divided. But, in our commitment to the Lord, He must be Lord, which means He is ruler over all. When we are seeking things outside of His parameters and precepts, especially with virtue and character, we will be dividing ourselves away from Christ.

When our focus is on possessions, they become our idol and we worship them (1 John 5:21). Our identity, and personification of who we are, becomes branded by what we have, and not who we are in Christ.

Can you go though all of your possessions and tell which ones will rot, and will not apply to your Christian growth? How can that list motivate you to seek what is in verse 33?

When this happens, all of our Christian life will be affected. Those around us will get the wrong impression of Christ as He is reflected in a skewed way. The word, Master, by definition, master demands total loyalty. We cannot please two masters at the same time, especially with God (Ex. 34:14). We have to choose whom we will serve, and be determined to keep our promise and commitment (Josh. 24:14-15; Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5)!

Fear the LORD means to trust, serve, and worship Him. Because money and things can easily become the priorities in our lives! The choice becomes whether we will worship the One True God, or be idolaters, following after false gods (Matt. 6:33)!

“Mammon” is the Aramaic word for possessions, acquired by wealth or riches (Luke 16: 9-11). By gaining mastery over our Mammon, we will avoid lusts, temptations, and foolish decisions (1 Tim. 6:9-19). This will lay a good foundation now and in our eternity to come. You must make the decision. What do you really want?

When we do not obey the Light, all that we are and do will turn into darkness and strife! This will happen when we start to get so busy that we have no time for growth in Christ. Or, when pride and experiences take the place of our sanctification, our growth and maturity are placed on hold. This creates a spiritual vacuum that will collect all that is wrong and unworthy for our character and purpose to glorify Christ.

Whom will you serve, and will you be determined to keep your promise and commitment?