Please join me in a contemplation of God’s word. 2nd Corinthians 9:7 states, “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” As I read this, I could not escape the question as to what a cheerful giver is and why does God love this person?
What does it mean to be a cheerful giver? WARNING: DO NOT THINK ABOUT MONEY (though, Paul is raising an offering in this text). Instead, I want you to think about the times in your life WHEN are you a cheerful giver. I will list a few examples for the sake of expediency. We are cheerful givers when it comes to our children. We love—absolutely relish in—opportunities to dote on our children to the extent that we bring them joy and happiness. We love to give gifts and give ourselves to the one we spend our life with, from the first date, to the engagement, to the honeymoon, and throughout the following years. We spend exorbitant amounts of time, energy, and money on the love of our life for THEIR pleasure and enjoyment. How about our close friends? Again, we spend our time, energy, and resources to go to dinner with them, to vacation with them, to help them in their work/projects, and so forth.
Think about it… we sacrificially pledge and give ourselves to ones we love (spouses), our children, our friends and family without batting an eye. In fact, most of us have learned to enjoy this process to the extent that we could not imagine life differently than it is now. What do I mean? We love those around us to the extent that we are unwilling to exchange them for a new spouse, new children, or new friends (rightly so- yet always be willing to add to our friends). So why is it so hard to be intimately connected to the church and to give ourselves completely to God?
WE DON’T VIEW GOD AS ENJOYABLE!
God loves a cheerful giver because a cheerful giver loves God! It is impossible to give sacrificially with joy without love! We will only take pleasure in sacrificing for those we love—in fact… this is what agape love is (sacrificial love). Consequently, when we give begrudgingly to God (in whatever category we give), we do so because we do not view God as lovely or worth loving. Even when it costs me greatly to give to my children or spouse, I find that I cannot help but to give because of the joy I receive in doing so. Sadly, this is not always the case with my giving to the Lord. Very often I bemoan the time, the work, and the finances used in serving the Lord. This reveals the lack of love in my heart. Instead of enjoying the presence and person of God, I find that I strive to earn what I want from God—but this does not occur (or as frequently) in any other love-based relationship I have!
Let’s conclude this devotional with a few contemplative questions:
In what areas do I begrudgingly serve God or participate within His church—why?
Throughout my past experiences with God, what causes me to yearn for more of God and to enjoy intimacy with Him—am I doing that now?
What causes me to feel distant from God or unloving towards God—am I doing this presently?
How do others help me love God—am I currently doing this with others?
I hope this helps you grow in your love for Jesus Christ this morning. Remember… our God loves us and desires our companionship—not just our service!