2 Corinthians 9:6-11
New International Version (NIV)
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”[a]
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
( from Bible Gateway )
It is important to give generously, but it is just as important to not give more than we can. This includes our time as well as our money. Giving money is fast and easy, but sometimes we use it instead of giving of ourselves. And if money is tight, there are other ways to give. We can give by volunteering, listening, filling a need we see, doing something a little extra special for someone, organizing, sharing, praying, writing a note, giving a small gift, smiling.
Being a cheerful giver means we don’t count the cost, we don’t compare, we don’t expect in return, and we don’t begrudge the act. It means giving with a smile, giving quietly and giving from the heart.
To be able to give cheerfully we need to not feel burdened by the giving. This is where not giving more than we can is important. We need to make sure that we don’t give more money than we can spare, although maybe we can re-look our money to see if we can cut back somewhere to free up some money. Maybe a cheaper phone or internet plan, maybe eating out less often or buying fewer coffees, maybe consolidating errands so we save on gas, maybe re shuffling our wardrobe or colouring our own hair or having a friend do our nails. We can shop at thrift stores and garage sales and on Kijiji.
To be able to give cheerfully we need to not feel burdened by helping others. We have to realistically look at our schedules. It is possible to find time. Perhaps volunteering for our kids’ teams or activities, providing snacks, having lunch with a co-worker, chatting online, setting up a playgroup or mother’s group, inviting friends over, giving our no longer needed items to a neighbour who happens to need that exact item.
Most importantly, to be able to give cheerfully we need to have the joy in us already. Turning to God in prayer and reading scripture and good Christian how to books and sharing with other Christians in and out of church are all important in building joy within us. Looking at our relationships and asking for forgiveness when necessary and spending time in building those relationships will increase our joy.
Checking our priorities will help us to give generously and cheerfully, Whether it is giving money, giving of ourselves, God wants us to be filled with joy and laughter. We will then be overflowing in our generosity and our cheerfulness.