The Bible tells us clearly the attitude of God towards the cheerful giver. It says in 2Corinthians 9,7 that“…God loves a cheerful giver.”
Now, we have to understand that when God loves, it is not with the same attitude and effect as when man loves. You see, if I told you I love a lady, you expect that my meaning ends in the fact that I want her for myself. If I told you I love a particular brand of car, you are expecting that when I have the means I would go ahead and acquire one for myself. The summary of what I’m saying is that man’s love is ultimately directed at himself. This understanding is in our hearts and we unconsciously think that is the same way that God loves.
God’s love is very different.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways…”
You see, when God loves, the end is that He might add blessings in abundance to the object of His love. God does not want anything for Himself, He only desires to give.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son…”
“… (He) loves the stranger, to give him food and clothing.” Dt 10,18
If God says He loves a lady, He has no plans for marrying her but that He might give to her a good husband. When He says He loves a brand of car, the factory producing it will never see lack; He will shower His blessings on the people that produce it so that the car will be in production as long as He loves it. In all these He has no plans for driving one. That is the dynamics of God’s love.
“God loves a cheerful giver.”
From my explanation above you can easily understand what this means. Now you realise that it does not mean that God admires a cheerful giver; it does not mean He loves to see them in church. No. Rather you understand that it means that God delights in adding His blessings to the one that is a cheerful giver.
Let me quickly add something here. See, if the Bible took the space to tell us that God loves a cheerful giver, it must be that it is a remarkable thing, and that His attitude to the one who cannot be so described must be less desirable. Am I now saying that God’s love towards His children differs? Well, I’m not the one that started it; the passage we are examining clearly infers it.
Look, let no one deceive you into believing otherwise; the truth is that we are not all on the same level with God. We are potentially all on the same level, but each person will by his or her actions in relation to God determine the position he will have before Him. You know that the angel that visited testified that Daniel was highly esteemed before God; and the fact that other people under the same covenant with Him can be less esteemed is shown clearly in 1Sam 2,30. (For more on this subject, please see the tract –‘Highly Esteemed’)
A cheerful giver is not on the same level as other children of God; the Bible tells us that God loves such a one. God’s love, as we have seen above, is manifested in the endowment of blessings upon him. God protects him, gives him prosperity, gives him children, guards his home, and when salvation comes to town, he is one of the first to hear about it. That was the case with Cornelius.
“He gave generously…’ (His) prayers and gifts to the poor have not gone unnoticed by God.’” Acts 10.2,4.
Get this clear today: Being a cheerful giver is one sure way that you can put yourself in a place that is beyond average with God.
“He has scattered abroad, he has given to the poor, his righteousness abides forever.”
Who is a cheerful giver?
A cheerful giver is one who knows that of all the resources that come into his hands, a portion is for him to spend on himself, while the other portion is to give to others. He recognizes that he is not just an end but also a channel.
“Now, God is the one who supplies seed to the sower, and bread for eating…”
When resources come into your hands, don’t ever forget that there is seed (which is what to give), and there is bread (which is for you), in everything. It is therefore a matter of faithfulness to ensure that you give what is meant for giving. You must be careful not to eat your seed; eating your seed is very close to stealing; after all stealing is taking what does not belong to you. Remember to give out of what comes into your hands.
Now, let us talk about faithfulness a bit.
As a child of God, everything you have belong to Him; you are only a custodian of God’s property. All that you earn belong to Him, not a certain percentage. This is the position of the new covenant.
“He died for all, so that those who live will no longer live for themselves, but only for Him who died and was raised to life for their sake.”
So, if everything you have belongs to Him, then you have to handle His property the way He wants, not the way the world dictates nor the way your human desire directs. For example, the world says you are to save up for the rainy day, but God says
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will take care of itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
These are the words from the mouth of the Lord Jesus Himself. He started that sentence with “therefore” because He had been explaining to the listeners about the love and care of God. He had explained to them that it is the love and faithfulness of God that takes care of those who do not save up for tomorrow.
“…neither do they reap, nor gather into barns…”
I am not inferring that to save is wrong, I am only saying that the commandment is that today’s provisions, both seed and bread, must not be kept aside for the fear of tomorrow. God is faithful to take care of tomorrow. A cheerful giver knows this.
This is a major reason why a lot of people can’t give. You can’t be cheerful about giving when the fear of tomorrow is clouding your thoughts; you need to know the faithfulness of God. God cannot fail you; He has said I will never leave you nor forsake you. (For more on this, please see the tract ‘I shall not want’).
Let us see another example of how the Lord wants His property handled.
“Enjoin on those who are rich in this age… to trust in God who affords us all things richly for our enjoyment; to do good, to be rich in good works, to be liberal in distributing…” 1Tim 6,17
A cheerful giver not only gives to others, he also gives to himself. You see, the Lord does not only supply our basic necessities, He also gives us the resources and the ability to enjoy. In giving cheerfully you must not neglect yourself. Buy yourself something that will make you happy; get some good luxuries in life. No matter how much we have ridiculed the statement from the mouth of prosperity preachers, it is still the truth that “my God is not a poor God.”
There is no glory in poverty; the only glory while in poverty is the glory that you have in hope. Hope is a good thing; it is what God gives to everyone that believes until there is a manifestation; it is not any enemy of faith. It is just like the joy that was set before the Lord that made Him endure the cross and despise the shame. Poverty is to be hopefully and joyfully endured, not settled in.
Being a cheerful giver is more than what you do; it has more to do with who you are. It is something you become; it is an attitude of the heart that is dictated by the faith that you have developed in the Lord concerning life. It is the inevitable outcome of a life that is completely rested in Christ.
A cheerful giver is not a hustler; he is a believer. He knows that as long as he is diligent and faithful in what God has committed currently into his hands, the time of his lifting will come.
He knows that the path of the just is like the light of dawn that shines brighter and brighter until the perfect day.
He is not worried about tomorrow, and this is what makes him a cheerful giver; he has come to know that all good and perfect gifts come from above; what you received freely will be easily given. He did not acquire by labour, he got it by grace; he did not get because he is better than anyone else. The better paying job he has, he knows, is not a product of a superior personality.
“So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs but on God who has mercy.”
That is why He can give freely, and the Lord loves him for it.
Be a cheerful giver.
An average person you meet is a cheerful and excited receiver. To correct this, Jesus had to explain that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Stop believing someone else has more than you and you should obtain from them; there is something you can give. Let people enjoy your coming and your presence. You must have noticed that you do not exactly enjoy the company of those who you consider ‘tight fisted’. The reason, I believe, is because giving is the essence of life; those who cannot give therefore do not radiate life and unconsciously we tend to gravitate towards where life radiates from. It’s just an instinct in the whole of creation; even animals express it.
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
In this last segment, let us quickly examine the question of who to give to and what to give them. What I’ll attempt to do here is to give a general guide based on the word of God; of course it is not possible to exhaust all there is to say on the issue.
Of the seed God has given you, each person you are to give to has an appropriate portion. It is not anything the Lord expects of you to give anybody; there are ‘holy’ things and there are ‘crumbs’. As an example, Jesus made it clear in Mark 7,11 that a man cannot dedicate what he is to give to his parents to the Lord. In fact, in that portion of the Scriptures, He made it clear that the word of God is that a man must give to his parents. Study Malachi 1,6-8 and you will see that the Lord expects you to honour your parents by giving to them good quality gifts.
Crumbs are what you give to beggars; that was all that Lazarus desired from the rich man at whose gate he laid. By crumbs is meant small amounts that do not amount to much in comparison to your whole substance. In common language we may call it ‘change.’ Note that it is vital that your crumbs drop; your old clothes and shoes are crumbs; give them away before they are completely useless. Crumbs may be crumbs, but they are things that are still edible.
Now, crumbs are not for your parents, ministers, brethren or anyone you choose to honour; to these ones you give of your substance, of your first-fruits. Make it a point to give to those who teach you the word of God; if you don’t, Paul said you are muzzling the ox that is threshing the grain.
“Let him that is taught in the word share with him that teaches in all good things.”
Stop dropping crumbs in church as offering; drop a substance, a holy thing. You don’t have to give every service; give when you have prepared a portion.
“Honour the Lord from thy substance, and from the firstfriuts of all thine increase.”
Also, please do not train your children to be crumb givers in church by giving them change to drop in offering boxes and much more to buy snacks and ice cream after the service. I am of the opinion that you should prepare your offering together as a family so that the children will see the respect with which you give to God’s assembly.
Let me state again that you must also give to yourself, and to your spouse. It was OK to pinch pennies when that was all you had, but it is spiritual stupidity and lack of faith to continue now that God has increased you. Deliver yourself of that poverty mentality; dress well, buy your wife some good stuff full of godly quality. Contentment is knowing your place in life and living like you are there; if you have money, spend on yourself, remember there is “bread for food” in it.
One more thing; always plant a seed into every good thing that is happening around you. For example, if your friend or brother is buying or has just bought a car, then give to him a small portion of the whole cost. Don’t wait for him to buy and then start demanding that he come and “wash” it for you. No, rather you should “oil” it for him. Your friend is building a house? Buy him a few bags of cement; it’s a better way to live.
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”
Look, in all these you are not loosing. See, He has said,
“Give, and it shall be given unto you; full measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over…
“With the same measure that you give, it shall be given back to you.”
This is what is meant by being a cheerful giver. Why don’t you ask the Lord Jesus Christ to help you become one today.