Proverbs 25-26 2 Corinthians 9
“Each of you should give as you have decided in your heart to give. You should not be sad when you give, and you should not give because you feel forced to give. God loves the person who gives happily.” (2 Corinthians 9:7 NCV)
I think Paul was a little worried about the Corinthian Church fulfilling their promises to give to support fellow Christians. He spent lots of time in this letter talking about their pledge and the need to be ready to give their gift to the right representatives. He let them know that he was coming to collect their gift, and that some of those from other churches in Macedonia would be with him and they didn’t want to be embarrassed because they weren’t ready with their gift. In the midst of Paul’s warnings, there’s an excellent teaching on how the Christian should give to God’s work. Give as you’ve decided in your heart to give. Talk it over with God, and then give joyfully. Don’t be sad, as if you’re waving good-bye to your money. Don’t give because the usher thrusts an offering plate in front of you. God loves the person who gives out of heartfelt joy.
Our local Christian radio station, KBNJ, is listener supported. That means that they take a couple of times a year where they call on the Christian community that listens to their station to give, cheerfully, to support the work that they do. Some of the stories about how people have been affected because of what they do are amazing. It’s easy to support their work cheerfully, knowing that God’s doing something great there. When our pastor preaches about giving, he reminds people of a couple of things. First, he reminds people that what we do as a church matters, and that’s why he’s not shy about preaching on giving. Second, he gives out gifts when he preaches on giving to remind us that giving is fun! I believe that my church matters and that’s why I enjoy giving. My wife and I give a percentage of our income. If you want to have real joy in giving, give a set percentage of your income every month – then, if you have a really good month and your gift to the church is extra big, you’ll remember that you were able to do so much because God blessed you even more than usual. What’s really great about that is if you want to, you can give more than your set amount. We should give to God’s work and to support God’s people because we understand that all that we have is a gift from God. When we give, we take a small part of that gift from God and give it back to support the work He’s doing in the world. Take the time to find a ministry that does worthwhile work and find a way to give from what God has given you to support that work. You’ll find great joy when you do that.
Lord, You’ve given me so much more than I deserve. You’ve given me eternal life, a relationship with You, forgiveness, and grace as well as many material things. Give me a heart to give to support Your work with my money and my time.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.