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What Does It Mean To Be A Cheerful Giver?

Giving in the church is a little confusing. Unlike Jews in the Old Testament, we are not commanded to tithe 10% of our income to our primary place of worship. We are, however, exhorted to financially support both our local church and other believers in need around the world.

In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul reminds the church in Corinth that they had promised to collect money for other believers. He writes, 'The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver' (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).

The word translated 'cheerful' is the Greek hilaros, and means pretty much the same-cheerful, joyous. But it also has a sense of readiness. It means to be ready to act at a moment's notice, to be prepared.

With today's economy, it can be difficult for even the most faithful to give to the church cheerfully-either joyously or readily. There are some things we can do, however, that might help change our attitude.

- Remember where it came from. James reminds us, 'Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights ' (James 1:17). Every blessing we have, including money, is from God.

- Remember what we owe. Romans 8:32 says, 'He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?' The 'all things' here refers to victory in this life and salvation for the next. A monetary donation is nothing compared to what we receive because of Jesus' sacrifice.

- Remember what the money is used for. The money that Paul collected was usually earmarked for the poor saints in Jerusalem (Romans 15:26). These were people who stayed in Jerusalem and developed the foundation of the church. Many lived in poverty after abandoning homes and farms to learn more about Jesus. Ultimately, this is what our offering should go to-the equipping of the saints and the spread of the Gospel. If it doesn't, we need to rethink who is worthy of our gifts.

- Remember God's promise to the giver. Jesus tells us, 'give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap' (Luke 6:38). This does not mean that God will always financially bless those who give, but if we make Him a priority, He will take care of us.

God's gifts are meant not only to bless us, bur for us to use to bless others (1 Peter 4:10). To give grudgingly or not at all is a sign of a heart issue-that we value money, comfort, and security more than the Kingdom of God. It is only when we learn to give ourselves to Christ that we can cheerfully give to support His purpose. If we find giving money to God's work difficult, we probably haven't given our heart, either.

3 great reasons to be a cheerful giver

Because everything you have was given to you freely by God -

In Matthew 10:8, Jesus is seen saying, 'Freely you have received; freely give.' Psalm 68:19 also says, 'Daily, He loadeth us with benefits!'

Because giving results in blessings

'Give and it shall be given unto you' (Luke 6:38).

Malachi 3:10 also says, 'Test me on this,' the Lord says, 'and see if I will not open for you the windows of Heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows!'

Proverbs 22:9 adds, 'He who is generous shall be blessed.'

To emulate God, expecting nothing in return

Being a Christian means to be like Christ, to do the things He did, to follow in His footsteps. Giving, expecting nothing back, is a great way to be Christlike.

In Luke 6:34, Jesus says, 'If you give to those whom you expect to pay you back, what credit is that to you? Lost people do that! But love your enemies, and do good and lend to them, expecting nothing in return.'

The next verse adds, 'For He, Himself is kind to evil and ungrateful men!' (Luke 6:35).

3 Things to Consider about Becoming a Cheerful Giver

Remember, we all have different personalities

Because we're all different and view the world in different ways, what it looks like to be a cheerful giver will be different for everyone.

Think about it in regards to the Myers-Briggs personality types. Developed from the typological theories of Carl Jung at the beginning of the 20th century, the Myers-Briggs has become one of the most popular personality type indicators.

If you're not cheerful about it, give anyway

Obviously giving out of compulsion or obligation isn't the ideal, and no one should give under duress. But should you give when you don't feel like it? Of course! An important part of learning to be cheerful giver is learning to give-and learning that you're not actually harmed by giving.

None of us should be able to say, 'God only wants me to give when I feel cheerful about it.' The truth is that he also wants us to be obedient. The promise is that our emotions and passions will follow our resources, or as Jesus says, 'Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.'

Get your finances in order

Part of the giving challenge is that many of us have no idea where our money is. A Gallup poll says that two-thirds of Americans don't have a budget to track their expenditures. When I married my wife, she was incredulous that I would have to check my available balance before withdrawing any money from my account. Why? Because I had no idea what I had at any given time.

Becoming someone who is happy to give isn't difficult. Not many people are just opposed to being charitable. Most of it is simply a case of removing the obstacles that make it hard to have the right attitude about giving.

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Publication:Nigerian Tribune (Oyo State, Nigeria)
Date:Feb 3, 2019
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