One of my consistent fears is the fear of not having enough. Ever since I opened my first bank account, I’ve worried about money. When the number is high in my account, I feel content, but when that number starts to dwindle, I become riddled with fear. The sad thing is that this fear has stayed with me even though God has always been faithful to me. Time after time again, God has demonstrated His great faithfulness to provide for me even when my financial situation seems grim. When God comes through for me, I breathe a sigh of relief and feel my tense shoulders relaxen. But then I hear His still small voice beckoning me to give to others, and I tense back up and am overcome with fear once again. Can you relate?
Second Corinthians 9:6–7 says, “The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart — not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver.”
Being a cheerful giver is difficult when you fear not having enough if you give. It can be easy to give financially when it feels comfortable—when you are in a good place financially. But when money is tight or you have major purchases lined up, the thought of giving can feel terrifying, even unthinkable.
However, reluctance to give doesn’t only happen when you’re in a hard place financially. It can happen when you are in a good place, and you long to hold tightly to the money you possess. Yet, being a cheerful giver is not contingent on our financial situations. It’s possible to give willingly and joyfully no matter the amount in our accounts. Consider the widow in Mark 12:41–44. While the rich gave to the temple treasury out of their surplus, out of her poverty, the widow gave everything she had. Now, this story does not mean that we should give every single cent we have away, but it does encourage us to give sacrificially.
As believers, we are called to lives of sacrifice. We are called to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Jesus (Mark 8:34). This isn’t easy, but it is worthwhile. Not only do we find freedom and joy when we make sacrifices for Christ and others, we reflect the character of God and the work of Christ. Though we did not deserve it, Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross for our sake. He paid the debt of our sin that we could never pay by His own blood. Christ’s sacrifice should humble our hearts and encourage us to make sacrifices for others. While these sacrifices can involve our resources and time, they also involve our finances. Believers are to be generous because Christ has been generous to us. Opening our hands and giving to others reflects the God who gave all for us.
When we find fear or pride gripping our hearts when it comes to our money, we are to meditate on the gospel. When we meditate on the goodness of the gospel, we will release our grip on what we have and joyfully give to others. In these moments, we should also remember that our finances aren’t ours to ultimately claim. All that we have is from God and belongs to God. Our money is a gift that God gives us to then give to others.
Knowing these truths is one thing but actually putting them into practice is another. So what are some ways that we can practically be a cheerful giver? One way is through tithing. Tithing is a biblical principle that typically involves giving ten percent of what we receive away, usually to our local church. While Christians disagree on if tithing is required and how much we are to give, tithing to our local church is a way to give generously and sacrificially toward the needs of the church. Tithing ten percent is a good baseline number, but I would encourage you to give as you feel led by the Lord. Tithing shouldn’t ultimately be about giving a certain amount but giving generously unto the Lord.
Another way to be a cheerful giver is to regularly give to support missionaries or organizations that benefit biblical causes. There are numerous missionaries around the world who depend on donations to keep doing their work for their gospel. Ask your pastor if your church is connected to any missionaries you can help support or visit sites such as https://www.imb.org/generosity/ for ways to contribute. There are also numerous organizations that aim to fight against poverty and sex trafficking, and organizations that provide resources for those in need. Ask your local church if there are any organizations in your area you can help support, or spend some time researching organizations you can contribute to online.
Lastly, another way to be a cheerful giver is to not ignore the prompting of the Spirit to give. In the moments when you feel prompted to give to someone in need or to give money as a gift, do not allow your fears or pride to keep you from giving. Go to God in prayer, ask Him to show
you how you can wisely give and how much to give, and respond with trust.
God has been generous to us, so let us be generous with others. Although giving cheerfully, generously, and sacrificially will require us to surrender our fears and pride, we can trust that God knows our needs and will continue to meet our needs (Matthew 6:31–32) when we give. Out of God’s abundance to us, we can open our hands toward others.