Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 20, 2016
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
Several years ago, Rita and I met a new friend at a Generous Giving Celebration event. Roger was reeling over a recent divorce and teetering on the edge of depression—the pain etched on his face made him look unhealthy and unpleasant. We listened a lot and attempted to comfort him with our limited capacity, but God showed up through the worship, teaching and testimonies to grow Roger’s heart with hope and wholeness beyond a Grinch-like small, angry heart. The Lord convicted him to give his way out of his hurt. Generosity is one of God’s strategies for happiness.
Paul beautifully describes generous giving as a heart-felt experience led by the Holy Spirit. Giving is an act of worship between Christ and man—not a feeling of manipulation from another man or organization. How we handle money is a reflection of what our heart truly treasures: God or money. Like the love a grandparent feels after receiving a preschool grandchild’s drawing of their hand outlined to look like a turkey, with coloring outside the lines—so the Lord loves to see His child give genuine, heartfelt gifts to those they care about. God’s love follows happy givers.
“Then he [Jesus] said, “Beware! Guard against every kind of greed. Life is not measured by how much you own” (Luke 12:15, NLT).
The test of our character does come with the exam of how, why and where we give away money. If we give to get—disappointment stalks us, our reward is earthbound. When we give cheerfully, expecting nothing in return—fulfillment invades us, our rewards extend eternally. Determine in your heart God’s heart, and then follow His heart. His heart is for the poor, so give to the poor. His heart is for the church, so give to the church. His heart is for missions, so give to missions.
When we view giving as worship we are grateful and prayerful. We are grateful because of God’s gift of life, His comfort in death, His support in suffering, His wisdom in decision-making and His assurance of salvation in Jesus. We are prayerful because we desire to give according to God’s will. Who needs our exuberant generosity? Giving as worship gets us to God, who fills our heart with love. When we get down, we can look up and ask the Lord where to cheerfully give. Jesus’ love is unleashed in the life of a joyful giver—the generous feast on the fruit of happiness.
“If it [your gift] is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully” (Romans 12:8).
PrayerHeavenly Father, help me know Your heart to be a cheerful giver.
ApplicationHow can I give joyfully both systematically and spontaneously?
Related ReadingExodus 25:2; 2 Corinthians 8:12; Galatians 6:7-9; Philippians 4:19
Post/Tweet todayWhen we get down, we need to look up and ask the Lord where we need to cheerfully give. #wisdomhunters #cheerfulgiving
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