We can learn to be a cheerful giver by studying the greatest giver this world has ever known: Jesus Christ. Leaving behind the riches and glory of His heavenly kingdom, He came to Earth and willingly gave His life so that we could keep ours. As God predestined His children to be conformed to the likeness of His Son (Romans 8:29), there can be no better way to emulate Jesus Christ than by giving selflessly the way He did. Our Savior Himself told us, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Quite simply, then, our greatest motivation for cheerful and generous giving should be that it pleases the Lord and reflects His gift of salvation to us.
The second letter to the Corinthians reveals a number of inspiring truths that should help us become more cheerful givers. As Paul wisely admonished the Corinthians, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6). This indelible truth was also stated by Solomon a thousand years earlier: “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing” (Proverbs 3:9-10). And Christ Himself told us, “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap” (Luke 6:38). Indeed, “Good will come to him who is generous” (Psalm 112:5).
This principle is unfailingly clear—we cannot out-give our gracious Creator. In fact, the only place in the Bible where God invites Israel to test Him is Malachi 3:10 where He is talking about their offerings to Him: “Test me in this, . . . and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Our return may not be material blessings, as Israel was promised, but the principle of God’s reward still stands. The words of Solomon echo this: “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:24–25).
As Paul stated, “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Cheerful giving, therefore, should be a way of life for the Christian who understands the grace of God. When we give generously and with a willing heart, God assures us He will watch over us and provide for us (Isaiah 58:9; Psalm 41:1-3; Proverbs 22:9; 2 Corinthians 9:8, 11). And we need to remember that it’s not just our treasure that we are to cheerfully give back to God. As King David pointed out, everything we have is from God (1 Chronicles 29:14), and this includes our talents and our time as well. As our days are numbered (Psalm 139:16), our time indeed belongs to God. And any gifts we have are also from Him; therefore, “each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10).
For God so loved the world that He gave. We would do well to remember that we are saved because our God so generously gave (John 3:16). As His children, we are called to be “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). When we trust God and honor Him by generously giving our time, treasure, and talent, we are truly letting our light shine before men, and our goodness will reflect radiantly on our Father in heaven.