|Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver…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…Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for you generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.– 2 Corinthians 9:6-15
When you think of giving, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Giving your tithes and offering at Church? Giving to the needy person that walked up to you on the street?
When you do give, how you do feel afterwards?
From personal experience, I can honestly say that giving was not always the easiest thing to do. Somehow I could always come up with a better way that I could have used the money that I gave away. However, the better learned I became in the Bible and the older I grew in my Christian walk, the easier it became. As I stumbled across 2 Corinthians, I felt Paul’s holistic concerns on behalf of the needy in Jerusalem. The same way he appealed to the Church in Corinth, I am appealing to you today to spend yourself on behalf of others.
When I talk about giving, I am not just talking about giving money; I am also talking about giving your company, speaking an encouraging word, feeding the hungry, caring for the helpless, or even just giving a compassionate gesture like a smile or a hug. God is urging you through Paul in this book to first develop a heart to give. From my previous example, I stated that it was difficult for me to give; I believe that it was because I felt obligated to do so. If I had developed a heart to give, I would have been willing to give without feeling any obligation to do so. We are not obligated to serve God, but we do so because we have decided in our hearts and are therefore willing to. So I encourage you to develop a giving heart by learning to put yourself in other’s shoes and sympathizing with the less fortunate.
You were given so that you could give, you were saved so that you could save, and you were loved so that you could love. Why then would you want to selfishly hold on to anything? When you give to others, you are giving to God! Remember the parable of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25? I really want you to understand that a gift can serve as an act of worship to God and can inspire other people’s faith and thanksgiving.
So brethren, during this holiday season, I want to encourage you to sow into other’s lives as God continues to sow into yours. This is the best way to offer thanks unto God! As you do this, you will certainly enjoy the bonuses of giving!
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