When it comes to giving, God invites us to test Him because the real issue is not money, but trust. When we decide to give a percentage of our income to the Lord, we then have the opportunity to trust Him to meet all of our needs.
God wants us to get to know Him in a much deeper way. Is God alive? Is He real? Is He loving? Will He keep His promises? One of the best ways to find out is to become a gracious giver.
In 2 Corinthians Chapter 9, Paul affirms the Corinthians for their eagerness to give and then urges them to follow through on their commitment. Look at verse 5: “So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to visit you in advance and finish the arrangements for the generous gift you had promised. Then it will be ready as a generous gift, and not as one grudgingly given.”
After that, Paul then went on to give 3 things we need to understand to become gracious givers:
The Principle of Gracious Givers——–V.6
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
It is a fact of life. What we sow, we will reap. When you plant the seed, God will provide for your need. That is exactly what we learned in Malachi 3. When we put God first and become gracious givers, He will bless us. When we do not give, the blessings do not come. In Luke 6:38, Jesus says, “Give and it will be given to you.”
The Procedure of Gracious Givers——–V. 7
“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
We are told here to have four attitudes as gracious givers:
1. Give thoughtfully: When we give it should be something that we think through beforehand. Giving should be a deliberate decision based on prayer and planning, not just an emotional response.
2. Give enthusiastically: Paul tells us to not give reluctantly. Friends, don’t ever give out of guilt.
3. Give voluntarily: If you feel pressure to give to Cornerstone UMC (CUMC), then I have done something wrong. We do not believe in pressure giving at CUMC.
4. Give cheerfully: The word “cheerful” comes from the Greek word hilaros, from which we get the word “hilarious.” God wants us to be hilarious in our giving. In the New Testament, when they took an offering, they had a blast! I am convinced that one of the reasons this is such a joyful church is because CUMC is full of people who delight in giving! Notice the last part of this verse: “for God loves a cheerful giver.” When we give hilariously, we experience the love of God that is reserved only for cheerful givers. God loves everyone; but He is ecstatic about those who give joyfully.
If you struggle to be cheerful in your giving, remember that God is the source of everything that you have as stated in verse 10: “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.” Verse 11 gives us God’s guarantee: “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
Every time you give an offering, or give your tithe to the Lord, you are saying, “Thanks, Lord for everything that you have done in my life. Because of all that you have given me, I cheerfully give back to you now.” This verse (V.7) reminds me that as I shovel out, God shovels in…and God has a bigger shovel.
The Promise for Gracious Givers——–V. 8
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
As we practice the principle of planting a seed when there is a need, and as we follow the procedure of giving with the right attitude, we can then experience the promise of verse 8. Did you notice all the “alls” in this verse? They are staggering:
“all grace abound,”
“in all things,”
“at all times,”
“having all that you need,”
“abound in every good work.”
When we put God first, we can expect Him to meet all our needs. That does not mean that God makes every Christian wealthy in material things; but it does mean that the believer who practices as a gracious giver will always trust in God for an overflow of blessings.
Brothers and sisters let us be challenged as believers to take the next step in our quest to become better gracious givers. Amen!
Pastor John Punni, II