God is not a cosmic killjoy. He doesn’t ask us to bear with some disappointing existence in which we sit around and fake happiness. Instead, He richly provides for us. We don’t have to apologize for what He gives us; but we do have to share it.
The reason why God gives us all that we need (and oftentimes more!) is so that we can in turn give to others. When we are “enriched in every way,” Paul tells us, it is in order “to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” What we have received as a gift from God we are to give as a gift from God. James picks up this idea in challenging form when he asks, “What good is it … if someone says he has faith but does not have works?” (James 2:14). The answer is clear: it’s no good at all! In fulfilling our responsibility to help those in need, we not only prompt praise for God, but we give evidence of the reality of our faith in God.
God supplies us not only with resources but also with the grace we need to be truly generous—to go without ourselves so that others may be blessed (2 Corinthians 8:1-3). He is the one who “is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (9:8).
A generous heart protects us from selfishness and the desire to amass significant wealth for ourselves. The joy of God’s blessing isn’t found in laying up a firm financial foundation so that we can retire to somewhere fantastic, pass on a greater monetary inheritance, or find comfort in a savings account. Rather, we are called to share the wealth He gives us now so that as others enter into its enjoyment, they’ll find true satisfaction in God the Provider.
If we’re honest, the very reason we often hold back from sharing generously is that we think God might just leave us high and dry after we give stuff away. Yet Scripture assures us that the same God who cared for us in our infancy will provide for us in our old age (see Isaiah 46:4).
Joy is to be found in unshackling yourself from enslavement to what you own. It is your privilege and your responsibility to be rich in deeds and eager to share, whether you’ve been given much or only a little. Ask God for the grace to cheerfully give without reluctance, and remember this: you cannot outgive God.
The Cheerful Giver
6The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully4 will also reap bountifully. 7Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency5 in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9As it is written,
“He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor;
his righteousness endures forever.”
10He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13By their approval of this service, they6 will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!
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