You must each decide in your heart how much to
give. And don’t give reluctantly or in
response to pressure. “For God loves a person who givescheerfully.” 1 Corinthians 9:7 (NLT)
When Paul encouraged the believers to give “cheerfully” he was
using a word that means “courageous” or “bold”.
I get that! Most of us who live
paycheck to paycheck have at least a little fear that we will run out of money
before we run out of month.
One of my favorite stories is about the group of ten men who
weren’t very good sailors. They got into
a small wind and their sailboat capsized and sank. They were better swimmers than sailors, and
they all made it safely to an isolated little island.
Their collective attitude was jubilant at first, just glad to be
alive. Soon, however, one-by-one, the
men began to panic and despair over the realization that since the tiny island
was in the middle of nowhere, and they hadn’t told anyone where they were going,
they probably were never going to be rescued.
Of the ten, only Sam seemed happy and calm.
It didn’t take long for the nine despairing men to begin to get
really angry at Sam’s cheery smile; there was even talk of lynching! Finally they reached the boiling point and one
of them demanded an explanation from Sam as to why in the world (considering
their circumstances) he was so annoyingly cheerful and calm. Sam answered, You poor nerds don’t understand
how fortunate we are; I’m not worried, I make twelve million dollars a year…and
I’m a regular tither at my church; my pastor will find me!
Now, really, there are much better reasons to be a courageously-bold
giver than the remote possibility your pastor is so dependent on you, that if
you give you’ll never be stranded beyond hope.
But, for some people the idea of putting 10% of their income in
the offering plate…well, that is just a little much, isn’t
I try to preach on giving from a Biblical perspective at least
once or twice a year. That never
interferes with criticism from some people that money is all the church cares
about. Actually, if that were
the case…if there is a church or pastor, or congregation, or a church treasurer
where money was the top consideration…I’d have to have the same attitude…let
that church fold!
Of the Church pastors with which I have been associated over the
years, the number one interest has always been two-fold:
a.They want to
see people come to Christ so their souls are relieved of the terrible
sin-consequence which is Hell.
b.They want to
see those who know Christ grow strong in Christ, so their ministry
will make the Kingdom of God a strong place of love and blessing in the
Beloved, that does not sound like a greedy church; it sounds more
like something to which I can give (cheerfully) whatever I can give.
Most of us really want to be cheerful givers, but we do fear
running short. That’s why it’s
critically-important to remember what the Shepherd said to the disciples facing
a storm, and what they thought was a ghost coming at them, walking on water:
But Jesus spoke to them at once.“Don’t be
afraid,”he said.“Take courage. I
am here!” Matthew 14:27 (NLT)
For You Today
Today might be a good day to look over what you give, and just as
importantly how you give it.
And then make some intentional plans about your giving to further
the Gospel reach, and bless those who have more need than you, and see the
Father at work in what you do.
When you give that way you’ll also see Him change your fear into