The Lord Loves Cheerful Givers
"Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:7-8)
It was Thursday morning, and Tonia and Ruben had gotten up early so they could go with Uncle Dirk to the market. They loved the Thursday markets because there were so many interesting things and all kinds of people to see. Each of them had saved a little money since last Thursday, and they jingled the coins in their hands as they walked with Uncle Dirk from the train station to the marketplace.
But today wasn't just any Thursday. Today was their mother's 40th birthday! They knew that even today – even on her own special day – she was at home doing things for them. Right about now, she was probably preparing their lunch – slicing up bread, setting out dishes, washing vegetables for some soup. That was just how their mother was. Always doing, doing, doing – but never doing things for herself. Just yesterday, she had fixed Ruben's bicycle chain and added a bell to the handlebars. Last week, she had mended Tonia's favorite scarf.
"Look here, Uncle Dirk!" cried Ruben. "Don't you think Mother would love these soaps? There are all kinds of scents and colors to choose from! I'm sure I could find one she would love."
"What about these bouquets of flowers?" Tonia asked, pointing toward a nearby cart that was loaded down with flowers. "She loves flowers – especially tulips and poppies!"
"We could give her this carved frame to put a picture of Father in."
"We could buy her that embroidered tablecloth."
"How about these skeins of yarn? Or, instead of yarn, maybe this sweater!"
"What did you think about those bracelets we saw a few booths back?"
"Wait, children!" Uncle Dirk was laughing. "I cannot keep track of all your ideas! You are so enthusiastic about choosing a wonderful gift for your mother!"
"That's why it must be a wonderful gift!" said Ruben. "Because we have such a wonderful mother!"
"Well, she will be happy to know that her children have such a wonderful spirit," said Uncle Dirk, still smiling. "You could never afford to buy her all of these gifts, but you are sure to please her with the cheerfulness of your gift-giving!"
When you have an opportunity to give to God and to others, do you have a spirit as eager and grateful as Ruben's and Tonia's? They loved their mother, and they wanted to pick out a special present for her, out of love to her. What if Ruben had said, "I want to use my money to buy new tires for my bicycle!"? Or, what if Tonia had said, "I am sure Mother would want us to save up our money for more important things than birthday presents!"? What would comments like that reveal about their attitudes toward their mother? Would their attitudes show their love for her?
What about your gift-giving spirit? When it comes time to take up an offering in a church worship service, many Christians get a little grumpy. They would rather keep as much of their money as they can for themselves. They tell themselves that saving money for "more important things" is best. And they just would rather not offer anything toward the offering. The Bible plainly teaches that we should be cheerful givers! And if we are having a hard time being cheerful, we can ask God for help. He is able to give us the grace we need to do anything that pleases Him!
If we are right with God, we will want to give cheerfully to Him and to others. We will feel grateful for all He has done for us. We will be enthusiastic about offering gifts that would please Him most. Ruben and Tonia were excited to choose a wonderful gift for their mother, because they believe her to be the most wonderful mother in the world. When we are excited to give to our Heavenly Father, we show that we love Him and honor Him – more than we love and honor ourselves! Be a cheerful gift-giver.
The Lord is pleased when we give with a cheerful spirit.
» Are there times when I could be more cheerful about giving to God and others?
» What does my attitude about giving to God and others reveal about my attitude toward God and others?
» How can I show that I love and honor God and others more than I love and honor myself?
Truth In Real Life
“The grace or love of God, whence cometh our salvation, is FREE IN ALL, and FREE FOR ALL”
John Wesley was born in England on June 17, 1703. Born the fifteenth child in his family, John was a “pastor’s kid” and was taught God’s Word from the beginning of his life. At age 5, like the other Wesley children, John began being home-educated by his mother. This education, along with other life hurdles, prepared him for serving God as an adult.
After being rescued from a burning church building at age 6, young John had good reason to think seriously about heaven and hell. He had always been known as a good child, a smart boy, and a bookworm. He loved school. As far as he could understand, his life must be pleasing to God, and he did not worry much about his soul then…for a time.
As a young adult, Wesley attended Oxford University. He founded the famous “Holy Club” with his brother, Charles. This club had strict rules for its members, including a rule that all members stop for silent prayer at least one time every hour.
In May of 1738, after many years of serving God, Wesley attended a prayer meeting and understood something for the first time. He understood that it by grace through faith in Jesus Christ that we can be genuinely converted. Jesus Christ does the saving!
Rather than being good on your own or being obedient to a strict set of rules, you can and you must trust Jesus to save your soul for you. Wesley began preaching this truth. Some people got angry with him, and others understood God’s love for the first time.
John Wesley was not trying to start a new type of church, but because he was preaching truth that was “new” in his generation, the Methodist Church began. At this time in history, the Methodist Church stayed faithful in preaching the Bible while other churches often preached false ideas. The teachings of many Methodist churches have changed since Wesley’s days, but the doctrines that are really drawn from the Bible will NEVER change!
Rules are not necessarily bad. Rules are necessary for things to be done “decently and in order.” But rules and laws can never save your soul or take away your guilt! Jesus Christ is the only Way to salvation. By God’s grace, through faith, have you truly trusted in Jesus Christ alone to save you?
John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”