6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever.”
The Christmas shopping season is around the corner. It’s not a time I enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Christmas season for what it means (Jesus’s birth and the incarnation of God). However, I do not enjoy the extracurricular activities that are tied to the season, such as the shopping, the feeling you have to buy a gift for everyone you know, and the image of fruit cakes at your local grocer.
What I really do not enjoy about the season is that it brings out the worse in us all. A season that is tied to hope and joy, so often brings out our aggression to buy the last item on our list. A season that is about peace often is about the anger that comes with not finding a close parking space or having to deal with a long line in the store. There is nothing cheerful about the ways we give during the Christmas season.
All of these comes to mind when we look at the words Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 9:7. Let’s be honest, the image of a “cheerful giver” is one that we can easily roll our eyes to, because of what we experience during these busy times. Yet, Paul might be onto something when he calls us to be cheerful in our giving. What does he mean by this? I think Paul is expressing the idea that giving comes out of our relationship with the Lord. That is what makes giving cheerful.
Cheerful giving is about giving in response to what God has done in us. It is a life of responding to what God has done in us, for us, and through us, so that we might be a blessing to others. When we see giving as a response to what God has done, it becomes a natural outflow and part of our daily lives. No longer does it become a compulsory or frustrating act, but an act where we are actively seeking to love others, because we have experienced a love that is beyond all measure.
Everyday is a chance to cheerfully give to others, whether it is our lives, our possessions, or even our time. How might you be able to give cheerfully to someone today?