Several years ago, I had car trouble out in the middle of nowhere. I walked to a gas station and called to ask a friend to come pick me up. He heaved a big sigh and said, “You know, I was watching the football game.” I said, “That’s OK, I can walk home.” He said, “No, I’ll do it if no one else will.” He picked me up and drove me home in silence. As I was getting out of the car, I thanked him for his help and he said, “You can thank me by getting your car fixed.” I was hurt by his attitude, and needless to say, I never troubled him again. As I tell that story, I shudder to think of all the times I may have behaved the same way to those who needed my help — and I was too self-absorbed to notice. I shudder to think of all the times I gave begrudgingly and condescendingly. I don’t want to be like that, and I don’t think you do either.
Paul says when it comes to giving, we shouldn’t do it out of compulsion. You shouldn’t give reluctantly, but neither should you fight the opportunity to give. When you see a chance to share your resources with others, do it cheerfully. When you give with that attitude, you please God. Why does the Bible say that God loves a cheerful giver? Because giving cheerfully reflects a proper attitude toward all that you have. A cheerful giver isn’t selfish. A cheerful giver doesn’t give with strings attached. A cheerful giver doesn’t give merely to get something back. God loves a cheerful giver, because when we give cheerfully, we give like God gives.
Probably the best verse in all of scripture that sums up how God gives to us is Romans 5:8. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) Another verse that stands out is John 3:16. For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) God gave the gift even though we didn’t deserve it. He didn’t wait until we proved ourselves worthy. He knew that in giving this precious gift to the world, many people would never appreciate it, many would never accept it, and none of us would ever deserve it…and yet he gave anyway because we needed it. That’s cheerful giving. When we give cheerfully, we’re giving like God gives. That’s why cheerful giving pleases Him.
Bill Ochs, Planned Giving and Trust Services Director