If there is a topic that is more uncomfortable to talk about than giving, I do not know what it is. I would rather sit and talk about lust and sexual sin all day. I prefer to talk about foolishness, folly, gossip, and murmur. However, giving, it is tough. It is easier in a one on one conversation, but addressing it to the church? No, thank you. That being said, it is a hugely missed and neglected thing in the church today. Doing ministry takes money on so many levels. Paul addresses it in 2 Corinthians 9:6-7, “The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
There are three points in this statement that stick out to me.
First, is the concept of sowing and reaping. This is not the first, nor the last time we see this concept in Scripture. Jesus uses it in parables and Paul continues to teach it. It is a concept that we use in our culture for various examples. Do you want to be good at a sport? You have to put in the practice. Do you want to be a good student? Study hard. Do you want to make good money? Work hard in college and your subsequent career. Yet, when it comes to God’s blessing, we do not necessarily want that work and effort. Do you want to grow as a Christian? You need to study the Bible. This is not to say God’s blessing is conditional based on your giving, but there is something to giving faithfully. I have seen it both ways in my life. By no means have I experienced wealth as a result of my giving, but my needs have been met and that is a promise of the Lord.
Second, is how much we give. There is the staple of Scripture that states you give your first ten percent to the Lord. If you do that, fantastic. It is what you have decided in your heart. Some can do more. Also, fantastic, just do not let it go to your head and make it about how much better you are for giving so much. Some just cannot give that much.
This is where the second and third concepts meet. I was taught as a young Christian to give faithfully and cheerfully. Also as a young Christian, I had a wife and three kids. We did not have much income to spread around but I decided on a number to give. I understood that giving ten percent was the gold standard but I also needed to feed my family. I chose a percentage to give and I did that faithfully and cheerfully. Sometimes it hurt to put that money in the safe, not knowing what the weeks ahead held for us. Yet, we did it. God has continued to bless our home in that faithfulness. Again, that is not to say things have always been great or abundant, but we have had our most dire needs met at the most unexpected times and by the strangest of sources.
Have that tough conversation with yourself or your spouse. How and what can we choose as the starting place to give faithfully and cheerfully? When you do, you will start to see changes in your life. Things will begin to fall in place a little bit better than they have and you will see God do some incredible things. I am not saying God will give you all the desires of your heart (which is really your flesh speaking) because you will still face trials and tribulations. I am saying you will be in a better place and better equipped when those times come.