2 Corinthians 9:7 (NKJV) So let each one give as he purposes in his heart not grudgingly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver.
I remember when my children were babies and how they loved their pacifier. It was an important possession to them. When they were tired or just needed pacifying—we’d put it in their mouth and they were content. The pacifier was as important to my husband and I as it was to our babies. If we didn’t know where it was—we’d hunt until we found it. We wouldn’t leave the house without it.
So, you can imagine how it touched our hearts to see each of them offer their pacifier to someone they truly loved. It was their most prized possession—but they were willing to offer it to someone they really cared about. I’ve seen other people’s babies do the same thing. It is one of the most touching sights you can see, when you understand that it’s their way of saying, “I love you this much.”
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That is the kind of generosity God wants to see in us. The willingness to give something that gives us a lot of pleasure to someone we love. Babies don’t have money—but they willingly offer a blanket or a pacifier or a toy to someone as a way of showing their feelings.
Babies don’t have money to give and we may not, either. We may only have time and compassion or material things. But the Lord is interested in our hearts and how generous we are with what we have.
Jesus was interested in generosity. In Mark 12:41-44 (NIV) we can read about another very touching example of generosity. “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling His disciples to Him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
Scripture makes it clear that we receive according to how we give. Luke 6:38 (NIV) says, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
2 Corinthians 9:6 (NKJV) says, “But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
A thought occurred to me as I was writing out the verse from 2 Corinthians. I was remembering the faces of my babies as they held out their pacifier to the person they loved—they both had the most beautiful smile on their face and the love in their eyes was evident. That is the way God wants us to give. Not out of obligation or disgust—He want us to be delighted to give, and to give with all our heart.
Generosity is the way God knows our true intentions. Luke 16:10 (NKJV) says, “He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.” This is how God knows people’s hearts—and it’s how we can know people’s hearts, too.
In Malachi 3:8-12 (NKJV) we read some sobering words: “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robed Me! But you say, “In what way have we robbed You?” In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you have robbed Me, even this whole nation. Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now it this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it. And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, so that he will not destroy the fruit of your ground, nor shall the vine fail to bear fruit for you in the field.” Says the Lord of hosts; “And all nations will call you blessed, for you will be a delightful land.” Says the Lord of hosts.”
Some people argue over whether the tithe (giving ten percent of our gross income) is something that was for the times before Christ or whether it is for today. The ten commandments were also given before Christ—yet we still believe we should live by them and do our best to obey them. Acts 20:35 (NIV) says, “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Declaration: I will find new strength by living generously. I will search my heart for how I can give joyfully of my time, compassion, material things, and finances.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.