Summary: This message focuses on being a cheerful giver and our right to choose how much and how often we choose to give to the Lord.
Godly Financial Management Part 2
Paying God Part 5
Previously I have shared with you that under the New Testament covenant you are not required to tithe and you will not bypass heaven and be sent straight to hell if you do no tithe. I have told you that under the new covenant you have a responsibility to give as you so desire in your heart. If you choose to tithe, great; but you must do it by choice and without being compelled or forced to do it. If you choose to give less or more, again that is between you and the God you call Father. I am not in a position to command you to give a certain amount, but I do have some guidance for you in this area. As a servant of the Most High God I am compelled to tell you to listen closely to the Spirit of God as He leads you in the area of how you use your finances for His benefit. You see if you agree with what you have heard previously then you know that all of the monies that come within our hands have the potential to be used for the good of the kingdom of God. So it is crucial that we maintain a listening ear and be guided by the Spirit. Let’s begin with 2 Corinthians 9:7.
I. Cheerful Giver
When I last stood before you I closed my message with the words Paul spoke to the Corinthians. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9:7: “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” The definition of the word cheerful from the Greek means “merry, hilarious, prompt and willing.” It also carries the understanding of atonement and making reconciliation – our giving acknowledges our atonement and reconciliation to God.
As you read this verse the first thing that stands out is that we are to give cheerfully and it is difficult to do if you’re being commanded to give. God wants us to give based on our hearts being so in tuned to Him that we desire to ensure that His work is fulfilled. In my last message I shared with you the difference between a required offering and a desired one. If you recall, I told you that by definition an offering cannot be required because an offering is something that is given by choice. A required offering is the same as a tax! The difference between desiring to give and being required to give is the motivation of the heart. A heart that has a desire to give is one that is more aligned to God versus someone paying a tax (required offering and/or tithe). As I’ve shared before, you are free to tithe to the God, but if it is mandated then it becomes a tax and not an offering in my opinion. God desires that our hearts are so aligned to Him that we have a desire to give even when it might not be feasibly possible. But because the desire is so strong we begin to find ways to ensure that we have money to give back to Him. Not out of compulsion, but out of a desire to give. We love the Lord and we want others to experience what we have. Therefore because of our love for Him, we cheerfully give whatever we can to make sure that His kingdom lasts. I want to give you a natural example of cheerful giving.
I want you to think about two men going out to buy a gift for their wives whom they love. As you know, when we have someone in our lives that we love dearly, we get to know them and the things that they enjoy. When a special day come around – like a birthday, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, etc; we spend time looking for that special gift that will make them happy. Sometimes it is candy; jewelry; a trip; clothes; fancy dinner; etc. The gift we choose is one that we spend time thinking about and preparing to give. We might have to make reservations; go to different stores looking for the right one; or even get on the internet to verify that it is available. Whatever the case, my point is that there is some thought that goes into what that special gift will be. So the first man thinks about what gift he wants his wife to have for her birthday. He considers it for days thinking about all of the previous conversations he has had with her as she expressed different things that she liked. He makes his decision about what he wants to give her and goes from store to store looking for the right gift. When he finds it he is happy and excited, hardly being able to contain himself as he must wait to give it to her. He is happy because he knows this gift is going to make her happy. He can see in his mind’s eye her smiling as she opens the box and realize that this man took special care in picking out this gift for her. What really impresses her is that he was so in tuned with her heart and desires that he was able to pick a gift that she would have picked for herself. This gift, as small as it is, tells her that his heart is aligned to hers.