Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give . . . for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
Brenda was walking toward the mall exit when a flush of pink from a display window caught her eye. She turned and stood spellbound before a “cotton-candy-colored coat.” Oh, how Holly would love it! Finances had been tight for her coworker friend who was a single mother, and while Brenda knew Holly needed a warm coat, she was also confident that her friend would never lay down cash on such a purchase for herself. After wavering ever so slightly, Brenda smiled, reached for her wallet, and arranged for the coat to be shipped to Holly’s home. She added an anonymous card, “You are so very loved.” Brenda practically danced to her car.
Joy is a by-product of God-nudged giving. As Paul instructed the Corinthians in the art of generosity, he said, “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). He also noted, “Whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (v. 6).
Sometimes we slip cash into the offering plate. At other times we donate online to a worthy ministry. And then there are moments when God leads us to respond to the need of a friend with a tangible expression of His love. We offer a bag of groceries, a tank of gas . . . or even the gift of a perfectly pink coat.
Who might you show God’s love to today? How can your generosity bubble up in joy as a return gift to you?
Loving Father, You gave me the gift of Your Son, and so I want to give to others. May I respond to Your gentle nudge to meet the needs of another.
This small segment of Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 9:6–9) appears amid a much larger section on giving. The apostle had introduced the theme in chapter 8, where he held up the much poorer but very generous Macedonian church as a model to emulate (vv. 1–5). Throughout his appeal, he asked the Corinthian church to keep their original commitment to give (vv. 10–12) and to do so willingly and cheerfully (9:5, 7). As Paul often did, he referenced other Scriptures to build his argument. Here he quoted Psalm 112, which outlines the characteristics of the righteous (“those who fear the Lord,” v. 1). The psalmist noted how they’re “gracious and compassionate” (v. 4), and that “good will come to those who are generous and lend freely” (v. 5). It’s not that generous giving makes one righteous; rather, the one who is righteous will give generously.