“God loveth a cheerful giver.”
I was reading 2 Corinthians 9, and when I got to this verse, I stopped. Usually, I quickly skim by it with a mindset of Yeah, yeah, give my tithes and offerings with a willing, happy heart. No problem! But today I really thought about the verse and decided to apply it on a deeper level.
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 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 my needs. And He does–for every need and even for 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 worth it. First of all, knowing you had a part in something great – the work of the Lord – I have always seen it as such a privilege. Secondly, just proving God’s faithfulness is an awesome experience. When you give by faith and see the Lord provide in ways you did not expect, He becomes so real!
Also, I realized that there is more of me to give then just of my finances. I struggle more with giving when it comes to my time and my talents. I selfishly schedule my time. I have time for work, church, devotions, and other ministry. I want time to read, to play the piano, to write, to run, to cook, to play games, and to spend time with friends, but anything outside of my regular schedule I sometimes consider unwelcome. When it comes to my talents, I tend to hide them for fear they aren’t good enough. I doubt whether God could really use my talents for His purposes when there are so many others who could do it better.
But I realized my perspective on all of these things–my time, my treasures, my talents–was completely wrong! None of it is mine! It is His time, His treasures, and His talents! If I will consistently adjust my perspective to see that all these things are not my own, I will have no problem giving of them with a cheerful heart! If the Lord wants me to give of the time 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 use or even develop my talents for His purposes and glory, I will have no problem in doing so because I realize that the Lord has blessed me with the ability to do those things.
Now I am far from perfect, and there will be times when I will once again 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 cheerfully!