When teaching on various commands of Christ, I have read teachings from Jesus in the gospels and asked our congregation to examine the Scripture themselves. This has allowed me to learn from them as much as I could ever teach. The Word of God is a Teacher itself and has proven to grow both myself and the church.
While teaching on the command to give, we expanded our teaching into Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 9:7. “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” I asked, “How do you go from being a reluctant giver to a cheerful giver?” My own answers were practical, along the lines of “the more you give, the more God will change your heart” and “I’ve never met anyone who has regretted obediently giving.” But one man in our church made a profound observation that I hadn’t thought of before.
He observed that when his kids or especially his grand kids asked for something, he was always happy to share. It was harder to give to a stranger or even a peer. Who you are giving to has a direct effect on how cheerfully you give. You give graciously to those you are closer to and reluctantly to those who you’re far from.
The same can be said for our giving to God. When we’re closer to God, we cheerfully give. When we’re farther from God, we hold tight to our money. Giving, then, demonstrates our level of trust in God. If we are giving to a God who we know and trust will do what is best for our lives, we readily give. If we fail to trust in God’s faithfulness – especially in difficult circumstances – we reluctantly give or do not give at all.
Who you are giving to matters. Give obediently, yes. But work on knowing more about the God you are giving to. You’ll find that He is faithful, and your heart will cheerfully give.
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” – 2 Corinthians 9:8.