We’ve all heard of the cliche that says it’s better to give than to receive, and simply put that just means that it’s better to be the person who’s in a position to have something to give rather than the person who is in need. So, it’s really not a sacrifice or struggle for many people to give money to the needy, or a financial gift to a health research cause or to even donate goods to the food bank because they have it to give and are glad to share.
But being a “cheerful giver” as God suggests doesn’t always mean giving out of our abundance and sometimes we have to give when we really don’t have an abundance to take from, or even worse, when we don’t even have enough for ourselves. This may sound like a conflict of scripture when God says we shouldn’t give out of our need but the issue is the motive of the heart, not the gift.
How can we give anything to anyone and be happy about it when it’s a sacrifice to give it and we know we are going to suffer the consequences of giving something that we really can’t afford? Are we supposed to just give it and then act happy? Speak good things so people won’t know we’re hurting from giving? Or does it mean that we don’t have to give because we we’re short ourselves?
What does it mean to give with a cheerful heart?
It means giving whatever is needed because we have a confidence in God that HE supplies all of our needs and that HE will take care of US. Though we give our last dollar, we know that our gift is a blessing to the person we give it to, and that God will take care of us. We feel the hurt when WE are the supplier, and when WE depend on our own resources to survive and substantiate our own needs. But when we trust God to provide all of our needs, then regardless how little we have at the time, we also know that He will give us what we need to keep going. And so we are willing and happy to share because we know that God has promised that He will supply all of our needs. (Phill 4:19)
So, if God is the great supplier, then why doesn’t He just give what’s needed to the cause in the first place? Why does He need us to get involved?
God loves a cheerful giver because the joy that He experiences from seeing a need met is the same joy that’s in the heart of the one who gives. When we give, we experience the love that God has for us – and for all people – and it bonds us closer to His own heart. When we give with a cheerful heart, it’s out of love – out of a passion to see a need met, to help someone, to encourage them to know that God is good – and then we become more like Him. When we give out of obligation, out of frustration or simple responsibility, the need is met but the giver missed the blessing, missed the chance to experience the love and joy that’s in God’s heart.
Many people don’t know God and don’t know how to trust Him to meet their needs. They may be baby Christians or people who aren’t even Christians yet but who would love God if they could only know Him. They may be hurting and need something that we can give, and so God blesses them and meets their needs through our giving. God is happy that a need is met, we are happy that God chose us to be part of that blessing and we have the confidence that God will meet our needs, as well. And the person we gave to is able to see the love of God through our “cheerful giving”, and through our confidence that we know God is the supplier of our needs.
So, when we give with a cheerful heart, everyone wins! And there is no greater reward or recompense than the joy that floods our soul when we have shared the love of God with others.
“Every man according as he has purposed in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Cor. 9:7