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. 2 Corinthians 9:7
Nicholas, who was born in the third century, had no idea that centuries after his death he would be known as Santa Claus. He was just a man who loved God and genuinely cared for people and who was known for giving cheerfully of his own possessions and doing kind deeds. The story is told that after learning of a family who was in great financial distress, Nicholas came to their home at night and threw a bag of gold through an open window, which landed in a shoe or stocking warming by the fireplace.
Long before Nicholas, the apostle Paul urged the believers in Corinth to be cheerful givers. He wrote to them about the great financial needs of their brothers and sisters in Jerusalem and encouraged them to give generously. Paul explained to them the benefits and blessings that come to those who give of their possessions. He reminded them that “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6). As a result of their cheerful generosity, they would be “enriched in every way” (v. 11), and God would be honored.
Father, would You help us to be cheerful givers not only during this Christmas season but all year long? Thank You for Your incredible generosity in giving us Your “indescribable gift,” Your Son, Jesus (v. 15).
Where do you see a need you could help with this week? How could you give generously of your time or resources?
Thank You, giving God, for encouraging me to be generous because in Your economy, generosity will bring the giver and the receiver abundant blessings.
Second Corinthians 9:6–15 encourages giving by noting its benefits. However, the idea of “sow[ing] generously” in order to “reap generously” (v. 6) isn’t meant to inspire giving with the intention of having God bless us for our own gain. Instead, the objective is that when God blesses us for giving, rather than hoarding what we receive for ourselves, we in turn give more, so that our “generosity will result in thanksgiving to God” (v. 11). When we choose to give, we’re to do so cheerfully (v. 7), for a cheerful giver reflects the generous heart of God.