God Loves a Cheerful Giver (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 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
Our Fighter Verses passage this week is one of encouragement in the biblical principle of giving. It echoes Jesus’ words to us in Luke 6:38, “Give and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Paul also reminds the Corinthian church of Christ’s example regarding eternal riches: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, that you by his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
About a year before the second letter to the Corinthians was written, the believers there had earnestly desired to give to the impoverished saints in Jerusalem. Now, Paul is letting them know that he is sending Titus to them for the collection and that they should prepare not only the gift but their hearts. “I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for the gift you have promised, so that it may be ready as a willing gift, not as an exaction.” (2 Corinthians 9:5). Paul wanted them to keep their generous promise and give with cheerfulness.
We can attempt to keep a promise in our own strength, grudgingly, under compulsion out of fear of punishment, or reluctantly. Giving can become a self-imposed obligation, something the giver absolutely has to do. This falls short of God’s glorious grace and love in us. Whatever the amount you decide to give, God is pleased when it is given willingly with a cheerful heart.
Where does the heart of a cheerful giver come from? It comes from God who has given us all things. “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?” (Romans 8:32). And God, according to His great mercy in Christ Jesus, has poured His Spirit within us. By the Spirit’s enablement and joy, not only will we be generous and give, but give with a cheerful heart full of love for Him and for His glory. When we come to know Christ, He gives us a new heart, one that responds to Him with love and joy, cheerfulness and gladness.
The Bible gives us many ways to express to God our glad and cheerful hearts. Here are a few examples to help us:
Serve Him gladly “Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing.” (Psalm 100:2)
Worship Him and sing His praises “And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” (Isaiah 35:10)
Love Him as our Father “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” (1 John 3:1, 18)
Give thanks in humility “…giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:20)
Treasure Christ and His Word “If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:10-11)
Be in prayer “So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you…Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” (John 16:22, 24)
As a servant of the Lord, is your giving free from reluctance or compulsion? Is your heart glad and free in your service to Him as in Psalm 100 and Isaiah 35:10?
With the Holy Spirit’s leading, what are some practical ways to increase your joy and enable you to give more cheerfully?
If you are in a local church, how might your joy in the Lord overflow to your brothers and sisters in Christ?