(2 Corinthians 9:7-15)
This would be one of the few verses that most people would know and recognise, even among those who are not Christians in this world.
It is a fundamental principle among people that if you are to give anything for any good reason, then it needs to be given cheerfully. Too often people have ulterior motives for giving. They give to get something in return, or to win favour, or perhaps to be looked at as someone special, even to assuage guilt.
But what is important in the eyes of the Lord is not that you should gain through giving, but that you should give cheerfully. And those who do so do indeed gain many things, as we will see. But the gain should never be the reason for the giving. Any gain at all is simply a by-product of the giving, nit the purpose for it.
Giving For The Lord
When we give of our things, whether they be money, possessions, resources, expertise or time, we are blessed. We receive a blessing in some form, but the best blessing we receive is that which comes from the Lord. Consider the principle in this verse:
“Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. “Thus, when you give alms, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:1-4)
What we see here is the right way and the wrong way to practice giving. The right way brings a blessing and a reward from the Lord. The wrong way also brings a reward, but it is the reward of men and in the long run is of little value.
Those who give in a “showy” or grand manner for all to see, receive their reward from those who see it. People will look at the giving and perhaps put the person on a pedestal for a time saying what a wonderful person that one is.
But this adulation of men is not long-lasting. It exists while the deed is occurring and perhaps for a short time afterwards, but is soon forgotten by all. The reward for people who give in this manner doesn’t lead to much more than a “moment in the sun” before something else comes along to take the interest of those giving adulation.
By contrast, the person who gives from a pure heart, not seeking the acclaim and adulation of men but seeking to truly provide aid where it is needed, without fanfare or recognition, this person is truly blessed. They are blessed by the Lord for their giving because they do not want it known and to be bragged about. They simply seek to provide the needed assistance for the sake of the ones who need it, without seeking something in return, even acclaim for their giving.
God loves a cheerful giver and those who give cheerfully expecting nothing in return are blessed by Him because they are giving for the Lord by helping those in need.
We quite often hear the preachers and pastors of churches, especially the televangelists, speak about an abundance mentality. Now while their motivations are sometimes incorrect, in the Lord it is an appropriate way to think.
The Lord is able to supply our every need and He has promised in many different verses in the Bible that He will do just that. If you recall the times when Jesus preached to the multitudes you can clearly see the working of His abundance in effect.
Look at the passages of scripture in Matthew 14:13-21 where Jesus fed the five thousand. We see the abundance of His work occurring in three different ways.
First, Jesus healed all of the sick who were brought to Him. We see the abundance of His love and caring for the people in these actions. Then we see Jesus teach the people the words of the gospel and the kingdom of God. In this we see the abundance of His teaching as Jesus does not want His people left in the dark but instead to have the words of God available so they can live a better life by following Christ. And finally we see Jesus create food out of thin air as He blessed and broke the two fish and five loaves of bread to feed the five thousand men, plus the women and children who were there.
In Christ there is an abundance available, and He will not see His people suffer for lack of anything that is necessary, whether it be food to eat, clothes to wear or the finances to live in modern times. The Lord will provide.
In fact recently the Lord brought this issue home to me in quite a comical way as I was foolishly fretting about some financial issues. The Lord told me quite clearly saying, “John, you must be crazy to think I will not support you!”
There is an abundance in the Lord and His hand is not shortened towards His people. He does provide and He will provide when it is necessary, so let us not be afraid to seek Him out and ask for what we need, as even the Lord’s Prayer stated, “Give us each day our daily bread,” (or “Give us each day our bread for the morrow” depending on your translation).
God Loves A Cheerful Giver
To give cheerfully expecting nothing in return is a great blessing and you will be blessed by the Lord for such actions.
This does not mean you should give to the point of pain, nor give what is not yours to give. Remember, your first priority is to ensure you care for your family, and to give away what is needed to care properly for your family is wrong.
But if you are in the place where you have an excess of anything, be it time, money, resources, skills, produce or anything else, then yea, it is a blessed thing to be able to give and provide for those who do not have these things.
Consider the examples of the early church where many people gave out of their excess and surplus to help the poor and needy among their numbers. As the Bible says,
As it is written, “He who gathered much had nothing over, and he who gathered little had no lack.” (2 Corinthians 8:15)
The people in the church provided for those within the church so that they were all blessed. Those who received the goods due to a lack of resources were blessed by the givers and gave thanks to God, and those who gave were blessed by the Lord and received His blessings as they gave cheerfully.
In all of this there was a balance, as there should be today. When the church is supported by the members of the church through this cheerful giving rather than the taxing and exactions of tithing, then the church is blessed and receives the support of the Lord to continue in His blessing.
And all of this can and will occur when we give of our surplus cheerfully simply because, God loves a cheerful giver. And as Paul expresses in 2 Corinthians 9:15, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!”
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