God Loves a Cheerful Giver
How did we get the idea of giving to God?
The first time we read of any type of offering in the Bible is when Cain and Abel gave to the Lord in Genesis 4:3-5. This was long before the Lord gave Abraham instruction concerning giving for the building of the ark of the covenant in Exodus 25. The implication that Genesis 4 gives us is that giving was a response from man when he saw God’s blessing and provision.
1 Chronicles 28 and 29 tell us that King David had it in his heart “to build a house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and for the footstool of our God…” Apparently, he wasn’t alone in his excitement to give to the Lord. The same passage also tells us about lots of different people who gave willingly of their talent, time, and finances to help build the temple. “Then the people rejoiced, for they had offered willingly, because with a loyal heart they had offered willingly to the Lord; and King David also rejoiced greatly.” -1 Chronicles 29:9
Kind David acknowledges that this act was a response to God’s provision when he blessed the Lord, saying “But who am I, and who are my people, That we should be able to offer so willingly as this? For all things come from You, And of Your own we have given to You.” –1 Chronicles 29:14
The idea of tithing is continued further when King Hezekiah gave the command for the people who dwelt in Jerusalem “to contribute support for the priests and the Levites, that they might devote themselves entirely to the Law of the LORD” 2 Chronicles 31:4. Nehemiah 13 also talks about the Levites having to return to regular jobs, because they were no longer supported due to the evil deeds of Eliashib on behalf of Tobiah.
When the priests cannot devote themselves fully to the work of God, everyone suffers. How can they feed the people, spiritually, if they do not have any time to devote to the Holy Spirit, so that He can minister to them first? King Hezekiah understood the practicality of this, and that this command would benefit all.
What does giving accomplish?
Here are just a few things your donation helps support (this is not an exhaustive list):
- It’s an opportunity to respond to the Lord with gratefulness for His provision.
- It helps maintain the Lord’s house/ the church (i.e. utility bills, light bulbs, paint, etc…)
- It helps provide materials such as Bibles, Sunday School Curriculum, Tracts, event flyers, and many other goods.
- It provides for the costs involved with Events, Guest Speakers, Office Utilities, Supplies, and Helping Others.
- It helps support missionaries from our church body.
- It allows for our Pastors to devote themselves fully to the word of God so that they can minister to and better serve the church body.
- It is an opportunity to support that which supports your own spiritual growth.
How should I give?
A good summary on how we should give is found in 2 Corinthians 9:7 – “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly, or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver”
From this verse we can see a few things:
- Giving is intentional, and planned on (“…as he purposes in his heart…”)
- Giving should NOT be a dutiful burden (“…not grudgingly or of necessity…”)
- Giving ought to be done with cheerfulness (“…God loves a cheerful giver…”)
More good verses include:
Charitable deeds are for God, not man’s recognition. – Matthew 6:1-4
Without love as your motive, giving means nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:3
How much should I give?
There is not a specific amount commanded in scripture, however, we can draw from the following examples in scripture:
- Give in proportion, or according to your ability. (Ezra 2:68-69)
- Give honestly. Give what you will, in any portion, but do not lie (to man nor God) about what you gave or intended to give. (Acts 5:1-4)
- The widow gave just two mites, but Jesus said she gave more than those who gave out of their wealth, because she gave out of her poverty. (Luke 21:1-4)
- Jacob gave a tenth (or a “tithe”) of all that He had, in recognition of God’s provision. (Genesis 28:22) The idea of a tenth is also what the Lord prescribed for provision for the Levites (priests), since they had no earthly inheritance, because the Lord was their portion, and they devoted themselves to serve in the temple. (Numbers 18:21)