Discover His heart: He rewards and remembers our generous hearts
I’ve visited a few churches over the years where the congregations had a rather unique response to the announcement that it was offering time. They would break out in applause and praises to the Lord. No apologies were made for receiving the offering, and there was no hesitancy in giving. All I can assume is these congregations had learned the key to giving and looked forward to the opportunity to do so as found in Paul’s teaching in Chapter 9. Blessed congregations!
2 Corinthians 9
“Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 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 gives cheerfully.” (6-7)
If we’ve ever received a gift given to us with reluctance or displeasure, a great deal of the joy the gift could have brought to us was never realized. In fact, we can look at the gift in the future and still feel sadness about the reluctance that came with it. No wonder Paul reminds us to give cheerfully to others. God loves us when we give with a joyful heart, and He makes sure that there will be more to give in the future. We are cheerful, the receiver is cheerful and God loves us – it makes me cheerful just to think about it! But that’s not all…
“Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God… And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you.” (11-12,14)
Our cheerful giving will not only be rewarded by God’s love for us, which in itself is more than enough, but we also will be enriched > enhanced > supplemented> deepened in every way! And yet another bonus is that the recipients of our gifts will thank God and pray for us with deep affection. I, for one, take all the prayers on my behalf I can get.
When we think about eternity in Heaven, we want our deeds to follow us there. Paul offered a promise for those with generous hearts, one that will stand the test of time, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” (9) So, there are actually two things we will take with us into eternity – those we have won to the Lord and the memory of good deeds.
When we are tempted to hoard or close our hand in financially challenging times, we will do well to remember those less fortunate than us because we are God’s instruments to touch their lives. Give, not haphazardly or unwisely, but give with generosity and with smiles on our faces. When we do this, according to Paul, we really have a lot to smile about.
Moving Forward: Over and over again I’m reminded that I can’t outgive God. He always wins! But I will give to others with a cheerful, generous heart and prove that His Word is true.
Tomorrow @ Exodus 25-28