Are you a cheerful giver? You can be. I try to be.
The verse comes from 2 Corinthians 9:7 where brother Paul states, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” When it comes to giving, my brothers in Christ have taught me that there are three areas that God wants me to give and give with a smile on my face: My time, my talents and my resources. Through God’s grace, I am able to do it most of the time.
Tonight, our church starts Vacation Bible School (VBS) and it is a great deal of fun for the kids, and all the servants. It is work, but giving of our time and talents, blesses the socks off those kids. Growing up, I never went to VBS, and rarely to church. I am glad I am a member of a giving church. God has given me eternal life, and the members of my church, have given me much joy and knowledge over the past decades. God bless the Christian knuckleheads at Valley Baptist!!
Now I believe that God loves you even if you are a resentful giver, but He loves you more when you give cheerfully. I have learned that when I give, I get much more in return. If you heard of a bank that paid 30% interest on your deposit, do you think you would put your money there? Of course you would unless you don’t have money to deposit. If you start giving more, Jesus will fill you up to overflowing. Don’t take my word, just check out Malachi 3:9,10. When it comes to giving, too often we think of money. Tithing is important, but there are many ways to give.
All of us have talents, abilities and skills. We are also limited, disabled, handicapped and weak in some areas. Do not let what you cannot do, stop you from doing what you can do. For VBS, I have no art skills, so I don’t serve on the decorating the church committee. I am funny and I like to teach, so my task this year is to make a bunch of knucklehead third and fourth graders, laugh a lot, and learn about Jesus. The main goal is to get them hooked, cuz “Jimdog” is a fisher of men (and children!). For those who know the risen King already, I want them to have fun and learn to handle their fears a little better. Our VBS verse is 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and self-discipline.” I am good at entertaining and teaching. But the truth is, I am going to have fun and again, the Holy Spirit is going to give me some sound instruction. In all my service, I know God is trying to teach me too!
There is only one thing you can take to heaven. What is it? I will give you a moment? (Jeopardy theme song is playing…) OK, times up! The only thing you can take to heaven is other people. You are called to “GO!” and make disciples. You do this by giving your money, time and talents to the task. Have you ever lead anyone to Christ? You should try it sometime. It will make you happy, happy, happy, according to a Duck Disciple I know! (I just finished reading the book by that name.)
God loves a cheerful giver. Most folks think that verse means we should be happy when we give rather than reluctant. That is true. But also God wants us to live in victory! Don’t worry, be happy! Rejoice! Focus on the doughnut, not the hole! When we give from our works or our wallet, we should be excited about what God is going to do with our efforts. Sowing generously is not just about how much you give, but how you give.
Have you been feeling down lately? Are you having more fear than cheer? Cheer up and give it up. Even if you are poor, give some time or attention to someone near. You have talents. Share them with a neighbor. Make a Scoobie Snack for that homeless guy on the corner. Step up and get on a committee, whether at your church, or in the community. Just do it! But remember. God is not an ATM machine, where you put in your tithe or good works, and He spits out a blessing. Things may take a little while. Sowing the seed is good, but the harvest comes later. Test me on this. Start giving, and in a few months, give me a call and I will cheerfully buy you dinner or a cup of coffee!