Cheerful Giver

The Jewish people were required to give a tenth or tithe of their income.  Leviticus 27:30 “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord’s. It is holy to the Lord.”  The scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ time were so zealous that they gave a tithe of the herbs that grew in their gardens.  Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”

If the requirement for tithing were carried over to us today and if you grew corn or rice in your field, you would be required to give a tenth of your crop to the Lord.  If you caught a fish, a tenth would go to the Lord.  If you slaughtered an animal, a tenth would go to the Lord.  From any wage or salary you received, a tenth would go to the Lord.  Thankfully, the tithing requirement has not been laid upon Christians today.  Instead, your giving should be from your heart as you purpose.  2 Corinthians 9:6-7 “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”  If you give sparingly, you will reap sparingly; if you give bountifully you will reap bountifully the blessings from God.  He loves you for being a cheerful giver.  Are you a cheerful giver?  Do you give bountifully?

Jesus loved you so much that he freely gave His life for you.  1 John 3:16-18 “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?  My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”  Your giving should be out of love.  Since Jesus loves you so much and gave His life for you, you should love your brother as well.  If you see your brother in need but shut up your heart from helping him, you do not have love for your brother or for God.  Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”

Galatians 6:10 “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”  I remember one time, years ago, when I was with a young man who was my co-worker.  We came upon an opportunity to help someone in need.  I don’t remember the details of the need, but I do remember I was reluctant to spend my money to help the one in need and I told my co-worker so.  His attitude was totally different.  He stated that it was a joy to be given the opportunity to help someone.  I realized that my attitude was wrong and my co-worker’s attitude was right.  You should take joy in being able to make a difference in someone else’s life by helping them.  We all want to make a difference with our lives rather than accomplish nothing.  Helping someone else in need is a way of making a difference.  God has blessed you in your life, and you should be happy to pass blessings on to others.  “Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8)

Look at the attitude of the churches in Macedonia.  2 Corinthians 8:1-6 “Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia:  that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded in the riches of their liberality.  For I bear witness that according to their ability, yes, and beyond their ability, they were freely willing, imploring us with much urgency that we would receive the gift and the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.  And not only as we had hoped, but they first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God.”  What an attitude these churches had!  They were poor, but they were liberal in their giving.  They gave beyond their ability and pleaded with Paul to accept the gift to help the other believers.  They had joy in their giving.

My encouragement to you is to take joy in giving to others who are in need.  God loves a cheerful giver.  Acts 20:35 “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”