“God loveth a cheerful giver.”
as i read 2 Corinthians 9 today, and stopped when i got to this verse. usually i quickly skim by with a mindset of yeah, yeah… give my tithes and offerings with a willing, happy heart… no problem! but i realized more was required of me.
first of all, i grew up in a Christian home, so giving money to the work of the Lord has never been a struggle. if my parents gave me a dollar, then i gave a dime to Jesus. if grandma sent me ten dollars for my birthday, one dollar went into the offering plate. i didn’t do it because i was forced to give, and i never wondered why God wanted my money… i just knew that giving was another way of showing my love for God and trusting that He would provide for all of my needs… and He does – for every need and even for my wants.
maybe you didn’t grow up as i did. maybe giving is a struggle for you. if so, please let me tell you that it is absolutely worth every cent. first of all, you can know that you have had a part in something incredible – the work of the Lord. i have always seen it as such a privilege! secondly, simply proving God is an awesome experience. when you give by faith and see the Lord provide in ways you did not expect, He becomes so real!
but God wants me to give beyond that of my finances. i think it is in these other areas where i struggle with giving… areas like time and talents. i selfishly schedule my time. i want time to read, to play the piano, to write, to paint, to run, to spend time with friends, and more. i still use my time for work, church, and devotions; but anything outside of my regular schedule, i often consider “unwelcome.” it really is terrible.
and when it comes to my “talents” though they be few, i tend to hoard. for example, i can play the piano, but i only like to play it for myself. i don’t like to play for others, and i especially don’t want to play for congregations. i used to see writing in the same way. i wrote for myself, alone. this has changed somewhat as of late… but i want what i write to be glorifying to God, as well as to challenge or inspire others.
today i realized that my perspective on all of these things was completely wrong! none of it is mine. it is all His time, His treasures, and His talents!
now, when i see that all these things are not my own, i have no problem giving of them with a cheerful heart! if the Lord wants me to give of the time which He has given me,i can happily give of it since it was never mine to begin with. and if the Lord wants me to play the piano for a church service or to proofread something for the church, i have no problem in doing so, because i realize that the Lord has blessed me with the ability to play the piano decently and with the ability to spot grammatical errors effortlessly.
now i know i am not perfect, and i am sure you are not either. there will be times when we will become selfish, but the prayer for my life is that the Lord will remind me that nothing is my own. it is His, and i am blessed. and when reminded, i will remember to give of everything with a happy heart!