Like me, I’m sure after however many years you have been on this earth you have given and received a lot of gifts. A true gift is something given to another without expecting anything in return, simply because the giver wants to give it. Whether or not the receiver is deserving of the gift is not the issue; the giver wants to bestow this item, this time, this money (whatever it is) to the receiver. The receiver can be a person that we know, someone we don’t know, and can also be the Lord.
When we start talking about giving, I think it’s important that we must first look to whom all blessings flow. “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.” (1 Chron 29:14) Everything we have belongs to God; He is the owner. We are dependent on Him for everything we have and need. He is the source of all wealth. It all belongs to Him. He owns it all, and that gives us a whole greater freedom in generously sharing it and directing it as He directs us.
A little further in the chapter we read: “I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you.” (v 17) God wants us giving with a pure heart. That has to do with the motives and with the methods and means. God wanting us to give freely and joyously. A lifestyle of generous giving inspires others to a lifestyle of generous giving.
And our hearts are what is addressed in Paul’s letter, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 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. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Cor. 9:6-8) God doesn’t want to see us give anything to Him or another person out of duty, but from a place of thankfulness. Gratitude is a revealer of the heart, and among the things it reveals most is our level of humility. When we KNOW everything we have has been generously given to us from the Lord, then we are humbled. I don’t have a house because of my efforts and all that I can do, I have a house because the Lord provided the opportunity for me to have the house–and the house is His.
We are blessed to bless others. “Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 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. 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.” (vv 10-12) We are stewards of whatever we have, be it talent, abilities, money, homes, cars….but it all belongs to the Lord. In this passage we are shown that we are to be generous with our gifts so that the result will be thanksgiving to God. Our purpose here on earth is not to seek our own comfort, but instead to do the Lord’s work. “For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” (1 Cor. 10:33b)
Our cheerful giving–the sharing of our gifts in whatever form they take–will pass on to others, who in turn will share their gifts cheerfully. “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. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (vv 13-15) And we are to thank Him for the ability to share our blessings. In humility, our thanks must go to Him because all that we have and all of who we are comes from Him. And a humble servant of the Lord, has a grateful heart.