2 Corinthians 9:7- So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. NKJV
If the truth is told, people are always giving. People give to political campaigns because they believe in the politician or the political party. People give during disasters because that is one time when we all agree it is better to give than it is to receive. People love to give at Christmas, birthdays, or special occasions. Typically, people give to others because something is stirred in their hearts that makes them want to reach out and help or bless someone else. So why do we have to be reminded that we should give cheerfully when it comes to the church?
I was sitting in service many years ago at a conference. It was offering time, and I was digging into my purse to give. I had a little money, but not a lot, and I had purposed to give twenty dollars in offering. As the offering was being taken up, the speaker for the afternoon was at the microphone and commented on how much people spend on movies and entertainment. Then the speaker made a statement about not tipping them because they had something for us greater than entertainment. And I think they referred expressly to the dollar amount I had in my hand.
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.2 Corinthians 9:7 NKJV
I have endeavored to live my life of giving by this principle. I believe in having a purposeful amount of offering in my heart to give and plan accordingly. Sometimes my husband may pull out his wallet and add to that, or the Spirit will speak to me and tell me to give more. Rarely less. But on that particular day, for the first time ever, I put my money back in my purse. I shocked the person I was with, and I surprised myself. But I knew I heard disdain in that person’s voice and felt that my offering would not be acceptable, so I kept it. In giving that day, I would have broken the other part of this verse:
…not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.2 Corinthians 9:6 NKJV
As believers, we are to feel a huge responsibility in getting out the kingdom’s message. To carry the gospel to our communities and abroad costs money. Some say it costs a lot of money! I’ve been responsible for events in ministry that cost thousands of dollars, with no wastefulness, and barely meeting the needs. Things are costly in a church, and most merchants don’t give their goods to the church as a donation. So things cost.
Speakers, musicians, decorations, lights, air, and heat come with a price tag. And a warm smile and “Jesus loves you” will not get these things paid for. Yet, some still think it’s a shame to give to the church. As a matter of fact, my example probably encouraged you to be stingy. But that was not my point.
My point is that a negative experience doesn’t change the word of God. Giving financially to the work of the ministry is scriptural, and we should all be willing participants to finance the kingdom.
And indeed those who are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a commandment to receive tithes from the people according to the law….Hebrews 7:5 NKJV
The tithe is the most basic of giving. Every church member should pay the same tithe amount no matter their income. The word tithe means one-tenth. If every person gives one-tenth of their earnings to the work of the Lord, it’s a fair share system. My ten percent may only be 20 dollars, and yours might be 200 dollars, but the point is that it is only ten percent of our income.
I heard people argue that they can’t afford to give the tithe, but I replied that I can’t afford to not give it. I have experienced that the 90 percent is blessed as we honor God with the ten percent. I’m not of the camp that believes if you don’t give God ten percent, you’ll give it to the doctor, the lawyer, or the car mechanic. However, I feel emphatically that I am blessed because I obey Him in this area.
Back to giving. Giving involves everything that you do that is above the tithes. I believe tithing counts toward giving, but everything else is like adding frosting to the cake! So here are some tips to help you to stay cheerful and not grudging in your giving:
- Be led by the Spirit in your giving! God knows when you need a challenge in your giving!
- Pray about unexpected offerings! (If you want to!)
- Give as you have predetermined but be open to God’s voice!
- Don’t be manipulated by schemes and gimmicks!
- Don’t allow other people to be God’s voice in your giving! (For example, when someone says God told them to give a certain amount and everybody else should do the same)! Let them obey God, and you do the same!
- By the same token, don’t be a copycat giver. John gave $5,000, so now you are going to give it! If you can’t afford it, that will kill your joy!
- Don’t charge your giving. Giving comes from what you have, not from what you borrow. If you borrow thousands of dollars to impress the pastor or the members, you’ll end up in debt with no one to blame but yourself.
- Don’t sell your belongings to give unless you hear God say it! We jump on the bandwagon of things God didn’t direct us to do. Then we blame Him when things go wrong.
- When you give sacrificially, and sometimes we are called by God to do that, make sure that you will not wake up regretting it in the morning. True sacrificial giving always brings peace.
- Lastly, don’t make public testimonies of your giving unless God okays it! If it will bless someone and the person isn’t around or doesn’t mind, okay. If it will embarrass someone who was the recipient and you make them feel humiliated, it was not God! Be careful with that! (See Matthew 6:3).
The best giving isn’t to the church. It’s to the people of God. I tend to avoid people who like to give “testimonies” about not having food or money, but they trust God. That sounds like a manipulative person to me. But when God whispers to my Spirit and tells me to bless someone with a meal, money, or whatever, the joy of giving comes in. Especially when they respond with a comment that it was just what they needed!
I love the church, the physical and the spiritual church. I love giving to the church and being a part of what is happening in the church. When there is a need in our church, we immediately talk about how we want to be a part of what is happening. We’ve made sacrifices, and we’ve made some of the mistakes I mentioned. Especially giving grudgingly because someone put us on the spot. But we have grown through those experiences and still have absolute joy in giving to the church and others. How’s your attitude towards giving? It’s something to think about! Wonderful Jesus!