God loves a cheerful giver
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or
of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). The
Revised Standard Version has not reluctantly or under compulsion.
Do not give grudgingly or under compulsion!
In the church of Christ each one is to give as he purposes in his
own heart and there is to be no compulsion.
I once attended a Pentecostal tent meeting in Canada where plastic
buckets were passed around several times to collect money. For a half
an hour the preacher pled with the people to give more and more. He
himself drove a Cadillac.
I once attended a Catholic mass as a visitor in West Flanders where
the priest went up and down each row of chairs, holding out the
collection basket and looking each person straight in the eye. When he
came to me, I said: No, thank you.
Worldly churches often use unscriptural methods of obtaining
money. When I was a boy there was a building near our home that we
called The Bingo Church. The only sign was a large billboard with the
words: Bingo Every Thursday Night! Some denominations sell lottery
tickets, have rummage sales and use all kinds of gimmicks to raise
Some misuse religion for material gain. Paul warned Timothy about
such people, men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who
suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw
yourself (1 Timothy 6:5).
Giving is an important aspect of being a Christian, and an
opportunity to give is provided on the Lord’s day (1 Corinthians 16:2).
But in the church of Christ we may not pressure people to give or use
worldly devices to obtain money. Christians give as they have purposed
in their own heart and as the Lord has prospered them.
Church leaders have no right to tell people how much to give or to
ask for pledges. How much someone gives is between him and God. We
should not ask for funds from non-Christians and visitors are not
expected to contribute.
Paul wrote to Philemon: But without your consent I wanted to do nothing, that your good deed might not be by compulsion, as it were, but voluntary (Philemon 14).
God wants us to give willingly out of
We give cheerfully because God has given so much to us.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes
down from the Father of lights (James 1:17). God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16). Jesus gave Himself
for our sins (Galatians 1:4). Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us
and given Himself for us (Ephesians 5:2). God is generous and He
wants us to be like Him.
God wants us to give ourselves to Him.
Even though they were poor, the churches of Macedonia gave
generously because they had first given themselves to God: 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 this they did, not as we had hoped, but
first gave themselves to the Lord, and then to us by the will of God (2
Christians are generous with their time and resources because they
have given themselves to God and they love their fellow man.
God wants us to be generous.
He who has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he gives of his
bread to the poor (Proverbs 22:9).
We are to be generous even to our enemies: If your enemy is
hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to
drink; for so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the Lord will
reward you (Proverbs 25:21, 22).
We are to share.
When the people asked John the Baptist, What shall we do then?
he replied, He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none;
and he who has food, let him do likewise (Luke 3:10, 11).
Paul wrote: Command those who are rich in this present age not to
be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who
gives us richly all things to enjoy. Let them do good, that they be rich
in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves
a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on
eternal life (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
God wants us to lay up treasure in heaven.
Jesus said: Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves
money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does
not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your
treasure is, there your heart will be also (Luke 12:33, 34).
God will bless us if we are generous.
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down,
shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with
the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you (Luke
6:38). If we use a teaspoon to measure out our gifts, God will use a
teaspoon for our blessings. If we use a dump-truck to bless others, God
will use a dump-truck to bless us.
Paul explained to the Corinthians that God would provide for their
needs if they were generous: 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. And God is
able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all
sufficiency in all things, have an abundance for every good work. As it
is written: ‘He has dispersed abroad, He has given to the poor; His
righteousness remains forever.’ Now may He who supplies seed to the
sower, and bread for food, supply and multiply the seed you have sown
and increase the fruits of your righteousness, while you are enriched in
everything for all liberality, which causes thanksgiving through us to
God (2 Corinthians 9:6-11).
He explains that their sharing brings glory to God: For the
administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints,
but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, while,
through the proof of this ministry, they glorify God for the obedience of
your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal sharing with
them and all men (2 Corinthians 9:12, 13). The churches of Galatia
were told: Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all,
especially to those who are of the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).
God wants us to work so we can give.
Paul had set an example in this for the Christians at Ephesus: Yes,
you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my
necessities, and for those who were with me. 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.’ (Acts 20:34, 35).
In his letter to this same church, he wrote: Let him who stole steal
no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is
good, that he may have something to give him who has need
God wants us to give both personally and through the church.
Our good deeds are to be done discreetly. Jesus said: But when
you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your
right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and
your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly
(Matthew 6:3, 4).
Christians give on the first day of the week. Paul told the Christians
at Corinth: On the first day of the week let each one of you lay
something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no
collections when I come (1 Corinthians 16:2).
Gifts can also be given at other times to meet special needs. We
read about the church at Jerusalem: Nor was there anyone among
them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold
them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, and laid
them at the apostles’ feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had
need (Acts 4:34, 35).
A gift that we do not miss is not a real gift.
Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put
money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then
one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans.
So He called His disciples to Him and said to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to
you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given
to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out
of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood’ (Mark
We are not really giving if we just give what is left over. Our giving
should be planned. We are to give as we have purposed in our heart.
How then are we to give?
May we not be like the little girl who was given two coins, one to
buy candy and one to put in the collection. As she skipped along the
street she dropped one of the coins and it rolled into a drain. As she
peered through the grate she said: Whoops! There went the Lord’s
What have we learned?
The Scripture quotations in this article are from The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982, Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise. Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive