Over and over again throughout the Bible, and again in 2 Corinthians 9, we see that obedience to God’s commands result in blessing: “and God is able to bless you abundantly… (He) will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness…You will be enriched in every way…” We know the Lord is good. “God is love.” However, in His great love for us and because of His just nature, He is also compelled to share how He views disobedience. If we sow sparingly, we will reap sparingly, if we judge others, we will be judged, if we condemn others we will be condemned, if we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven, the measure with which we use to evaluate another will be the measure used against us (Luke 6:37,38).
So, do we obey the command, “each of you should give what he has decided in his heart to give,” because we fear the negative consequences? No, that would giving, “reluctantly, under compulsion.” What does it really mean to be a “cheerful giver?”I believe the love of God should so overpower us that we overflow with generosity, unable to refrain from giving freely of our time, our love and “our” money. The outcomes will be positive as God promises this will be so. Will you become rich? Yes! But for a purpose that is beyond you. “You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”
In whatever capacity God has been generous to us, we must act on those rich blessings, “so that in all things at all times, having all that (we) need, (we) will abound in every good work.” We scatter seeds freely in response to our heartfelt understanding of the greatest gift that we have been given.
Confession: As a homemaker, I do not earn a monthly income. However, I have a hobby that brings in additional funds once in awhile. Last month I received some money and it has always been my intention to tithe, however I have not yet done so. Yes, I have some good reasons…when I have gone to the bank to pick up checks the bank has been closed, I could give in cash, but I can only withdraw so much in a single day so I would have to hit the bank twice, I have missed a Sunday and I can’t drop off a check mid-week… etc. Quite honestly, these are excuses. In my heart, I decided what to give over four weeks ago, but I have sinned in my neglect to act. I am certain God can get the money from elsewhere, but He asked me, just as he asks each one of us, to give out of gratitude, so that the world will witness a family of believers, sharing love, compassion and wealth, united in our bond of redemption, for a greater purpose.
Take time today to reflect on what decisions you have made that need follow through. If you have decided that it is right to tithe regularly, to give to that person whom God has laid on your heart, to spend the day offering your time to another, to give from an otherwise stored up supply, then take action. “Good Intentions should not be mistaken for good decisions and deliberate steps toward your heart's desire.” The value is in the gift that is given. What good does it do if it never makes it to the recipient?
- Rina Carbol