Be a Happy Giver
“GIVE till it hurts!” So say those conducting charity drives. But not God in his Word, the Bible. In it we read: “God loves a cheerful giver.” He puts the emphasis where it belongs, on the motive, on the quality of the giving. Where there is cheerful giving the amount will take care of itself.—2 Cor. 9:7.
Why does God love a cheerful giver? Not because he needs anything, for he does not; “the beasts upon a thousand mountains” belong to him. He loves a cheerful giver because cheerful giving implies love and he has a kinship with those who manifest love. “God is love.” The cheerful giver is glad he is able to give, that he has an opportunity to give or to help another.—Ps. 50:10; 1 John 4:8.
Much giving today, however, is not such cheerful giving. For example, industry in the United States gave upward of $55 million in goods, services and cash to ransom the Cuban “freedom fighters.” To get these contributions, subtle political pressure was used together with the promise that contributions would be tax deductible and could be charged at wholesale rather than manufacturing rates. (As a result, not a few drug companies actually made a profit from their contributions!) For others, political pressure was not subtle. Thus one firm facing a government lawsuit was bluntly directed how much to contribute in goods and cash. Obviously, all such were not cheerful givers!
To whom should we give? To all asking? To all we would like to help? It would take a man as rich as Croesus to be able to do that. First we should be certain that those to whom we give are either deserving or necessitous, if not both. It is a tendency of fallen human nature to want to give to the rich, to those not having any need, with hope of repayment, and to overlook the poor. That is why Jesus counseled us to invite the poor when we want to spread a feast.—Luke 14:12-14.
Opportunities to give continually present themselves. Be alert to take advantage of them, and do so cheerfully. There is the family circle. Before a man and woman became husband and wife they each found ever so many opportunities to give to each other or to do for each other favors, and they did them cheerfully; no question about that. After marriage, why not keep that love alive by going beyond what duty requires of you and continue to give and do “extras,” to make the other happy, and doing so cheerfully? The same applies to the parent-children and brother-sister relationships.
Or is yours the opportunity to extend hospitality to relatives, acquaintances or fellow Christians? How shall you show it? “Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.” It means so much to the recipients of your hospitality when you extend it cheerfully, as though it were a privilege. And that it is, for is there not “more happiness in giving than there is in receiving”?—1 Pet. 4:9; Acts 20:35.
Not that this matter of giving cheerfully is limited to material things. Depending upon your maturity, understanding, influence and the Christian fruitage of God’s holy spirit in your life, you will have opportunities to give of your time, your knowledge, your interest, your companionship, yes, yourself, to another that is deserving or necessitous. Let your heart go out to such a one, put yourself in his place, exercise empathy, give of these things cheerfully. Do not give because of a feeling of compulsion, grim duty, but, as Christian shepherds are counseled, give willingly, eagerly, yes, cheerfully.—1 Pet. 5:2.
Then, too, because none are perfect, we all err, we offend or are offended by others. It may be necessary for us to call another to account, or another may come to us with an apology. Shall we be severe and exact, demanding the last ounce of flesh, Shylock-like? Or, if we do extend mercy, will we do it reluctantly, rubbing it in, as it were, as if we are doing the erring one a favor? No, rather, let us heed the counsel: “He that shows mercy, let him do it with cheerfulness.” Be a cheerful giver of forgiveness!—Rom. 12:8.
But the best gift we could possibly give one is a knowledge and understanding of God’s Word, the Bible. Jesus appreciated this truth. His cures and his feeding the multitudes were incidental to his preaching the good news about God’s kingdom and gaining everlasting life. In fact, he rebuked those who were interested only in his material gifts: “You are looking for me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate from the loaves and were satisfied. Work, not for the food that perishes, but for the food that remains for life everlasting, which the Son of man will give you.”—John 6:26, 27.
Of course, for selfish persons, those who lack appreciation and who would exploit our giving cheerfully, such as spoiled mates or children, our giving may justifiably be done in measure so as to drive home the point that it is a gift and not a debt being paid. Thus one who abuses mercy repeatedly would no longer be deserving of mercy. That is why Jesus also said: “Do not . . . throw your pearls before swine.”—Matt. 7:6.
However, we do not want to overlook the fact that there is a reverse side to this “coin” of being a cheerful giver, namely, the privilege of the one who is on the receiving end to do his part toward making giving a cheerful matter. Do not take gifts, kindnesses or favors for granted, regardless of how often you may be the recipient of them. Do not always be expecting a certain favor; express sincere appreciation each time you have the blessing of receiving, and do not always limit this expression to words. For example, you might show appreciation by helping to pay for the gasoline when you go along on an auto trip. At times you may want to make a gift of some flowers or a box of sweets. Thus you will also be sharing in the blessing of giving.
Truly, God loves a cheerful giver and so does everyone else. Be one yourself, and make it easy for others who give to you to be cheerful givers by showing fitting appreciation.