I have had the pleasure of asking numerous small groups what the best “giving” verse is in the Bible. I have had the almost indescribable pleasure of hearing almost all groups quickly zero in on John 3:16.
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Good choice. No, great choice! The greatest gift ever given, at the greatest cost possible, to the most undeserving recipients. That is an easy choice after a moment’s thought.
Most of the groups that have missed the right verse have offered 2 Corinthians 9:7.
2 Corinthians 9:7
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.
It is fun to tell them that their choice is a great verse, just not the greatest. 2 Corinthians 9:7, or at least the last phrase in the verse is a delight, because it emphasizes that God already owns it all, He could take it even without our voluntary act of giving, but He wants us to be cheerful givers.
If you just analogize to a marriage or almost any relationship. Would you rather receive a gift from someone with this note on it:
“I spent a lot of time picking this out for you because I wanted you to have something really special from me for your birthday.”
“I knew I had to get you something for your birthday, so here it is.”
The Generous Giving organization has discovered that getting a bunch of generous people together produces an explosion of joy as well as an explosion of renewed generosity. Attend a Journey of Generosity, learn about the incredible joy and freedom that come with giving, and then consider attending one of their annual Celebrations of Generosity. As people share how God has allowed them to give far beyond their expectations or even imaginations, there is a great expression of praise to God. God has proven to be creative and generous beyond imagination.
The more these generous people give, the more they want to give even more, and the more God enables them to do just that! This is a real and current life expression of Paul’s writing in 2 Corinthians 9.
2 Corinthians 9:11-13
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.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.
13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.
We give because God enabled us to give, and then He makes it possible for us to give more. This is the ultimate win-win-win. We win because we have received so much from God. The recipients win through our giving. God wins through the praise that arises! Win-win-win!
I see why God loves a cheerful giver.
I see why God loves a cheerful giver. Granted He loves the grouchy giver too and even the non-giver (well, I think so).
It is still better to be in the especially loved category. I am confident that special blessings are in store for the joyful generous giver!
So do you give when you are not joyful about it? Yes! I can think of many, many times I have struggled to make it to church, tired and worn after a long week. Somedays are just tough. Then, I get there and God picks my heart up and, no real surprise, I am blessed because I did the right thing. It is the same with giving my money as well as my time. God rewards obedience.
Had I given in to my reluctance to worship, there is joy I would have missed entirely. Similarly, if I give in to reluctance to give and submit to my tendency toward greed and hoarding, there are blessings that would be lost.
Go for all the blessings you can by being obedient and giving for the joy of giving back to God. Learn more about attending a Journey of Generosity (a JOG) by calling The Idlewild Foundation (813-264-8713) or checking our website at idlewildfoundation.com for scheduled JOGs. Go after all the blessings you can by being obedient – give for the joy of being a Godly generous person.
About the Author
John Campbell has retired from a 40-year legal practice as a trial attorney in Tampa. He has served in multiple volunteer roles at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Florida. where he met Jesus. He began serving as the Executive Director of the Idlewild Foundation in 2016. He has been married to the love of his life, Mona Puckett Campbell, since 1972.