“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you…” 2 Corinthians 9:7-8
“One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.” Proverbs 11:24
Have you ever given something to someone, but didn’t actually want to? Either out of tradition or obligation, or duty? Or fear of repercussions if you had not given the gift?! I’m sure I have!! The person will probably never know, because the action is the same whether you wanted to give or not – you might have even put on a smile when you gave the gift! When trying to teach sharing or giving to our children it’s painfully funny to watch them give his or her sibling that piece of chocolate or the toy that they wanted to play with, desperately wanting to keep it for themselves while their “mean” parents force them to give it away. Kids can’t hide their feelings quite as well as we can!
When we give to God, we must have the right heart and mind attitude. If we look at what God has done for us, how he gave his Son for us, how Jesus who was so rich became so poor for us, how he gave us eternal life and gave his Holy Spirit as a free gift to us, how he provides for all our needs and has given us everything, including our every breath and our money (or our ability to earn money), and we also understand, vitally, that our life here on earth is strictly temporary, it changes our attitude to money and giving. We begin to become cheerful givers.
Being a cheerful giver doesn’t mean that it isn’t a sacrifice to give, quite the contrary. Giving should be a sacrifice which encourages us to live by faith in our God who loves and cares for us. But we also can’t wait until we “feel ready” to give. In fact, often times giving to something actually builds our vision, passion and love for that particular purpose. Just as Paul encouraged the churches in the New Testament, each one of us should give regularly and routinely (1 Cor 16:1-2). We don’t just pray for a cheerful heart and not give until we get one. We pray for a cheerful heart while giving.