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
Giving with a right heart was really difficult when I first decided to be a giver. Verses like this seemed so not attainable. Almost every time I gave, I could not help but think about what else I wanted to do with that money. Sometimes I would be more “spiritual” and think of things I “needed” to do with it. At any rate, I was really far away from being a cheerful giver like the one described in this verse.
It was probably 15 or so years ago that I decided in my heart to be a tither. I was going to give regularly to my church. The amount was $200 because I netted about $2,000 a month (those people who tithed on gross were really hardcore!) Anyway, I think January and February were no problem, but as the months went on, I just seemed to clench my fist around the money more and more. By the end of the year, I had only tithed 10 out of the 12 months. I got my first little tithe slip from the church showing I had given $2,000 so I could use it for tax purposes.
I actually felt like I did something special. I’m pretty sure at times I thought about how much better I was than other people who probably didn’t even consider tithing at my age. Since I was so far from having the correct heart, God intervened to teach me a lesson.
Towards the end of the same year that I decided to give, I was put on a committee at work that had to meet every two weeks after school. None of us on the committee thought we were going to be compensated. It really didn’t even matter because it wasn’t like it was all that difficult.
Anyway, it just so happened that around the time I got my $2000 tithe slip, I also got paid an extra $2000 from work for attending these meetings. At first, I thought God was rewarding me. I thought giving to God was the greatest thing ever invented because He turns around and finds a way to give it all back.
Then, I stumbled across 2 Corinthians 9. I got convicted because I didn’t give very cheerfully. It hadn’t been a joy to give to the God I was claiming to serve and love. The more I thought about it, I felt like God was telling me He didn’t want my money if I couldn’t give it with the right heart. He gave it all back to me and basically said, “Either do it right or don’t do it at all.”
I repented and tried again with much better results. I remember just being blessed with a sense of His presence. I remember actually beginning to get my finances in order and thinking how amazing it was that God made the 90% of my money go so much further than when I held on to all of it. God did for me what God has done to countless who have gone on before me . . . pour out His blessings on people who love Him and are obedient to His Word.
How about you? Are you a giver?
If so, is your heart right? If it isn’t, then ask God to change it. You can’t just decide to have a right heart . . . it must flow from being directly connected to His.
When I really think about how good He has been to me, even when I haven’t been so good in return, it isn’t that hard to give back to Him. In fact, it is an honor.
Lord, help me be a cheerful giver . . . just like you.
Such truth. We can’t outgive God but we must do it with a right attitude and a right heart. We see this so evident in our ministry as missionaries to Nicaragua.