Reading through the Bible this year led me to a familiar and favorite passage (at least for me), 2 Corinthians 9:7. Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 have defined my understanding of stewardship, what it means to give, and perhaps even more importantly why I give.
Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, Each of you should give whatever you have decided. You shouldn’t be sorry that you gave or feel forced to give, since God loves a cheerful giver. (GOD’S WORD)
Most people tell me after a stewardship message, they appreciate the courage to tackle such a tough topic. I’ll let you in on a secret. It’s not so tough. It’s God’s Word, and God gets it right.
I have discovered the joy of being a cheerful giver. I give because God has given me so much. Giving a tithe is a habit my parents and my church taught me at a young age. My $10 I earned doing various lawn jobs, led to a $1 tithe, and the joy of giving.
Later years I learned that the Greek word for cheerful leads to the English word, “Hilarious”. I take that to mean you should be laughing as the offering plate passes your row and you put your offering in. I have suggested that often over the years, I am still waiting for that courageous belly laugh to respond.
When my girls were in school at St. Paul Lutheran School in Lakeland, Florida, that led me lead chapel one time. I used this verse, and abundant orange crop of over 300 oranges. I asked for volunteers who loved to give and loved to laugh. Then I brought out the oranges, and give this instruction that everyone was to receive an orange and as you passed the orange down your row, you were to laugh in doing so. It was loud. It was fun. It was awesome. It was also the last time I was invited to lead chapel. Might be due to our move to California.
I ache for people to find that joy in giving. I am amazed that at most churches 50% of the members give nothing. I don’t understand. Times are tough, but it seems even tougher on one’s self and one’s family, when you miss the joy in giving.
Thanks mom and dad for teaching me that joy at an early age. I’m still giving, and still laughing (at least on the inside) when I do so.
What motivates you in giving? What leads you to be that cheerful/hilarious giver?