In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, he asks that those whogive, do so cheerfully. We’re not to feel obligated to pressured solicitations, nor, however, are we to be tightfisted with our generosity.
Given the nature of Paul’s argument here, these verses are oftentimes directed to the giving of our finances.
What you sow is what you reap.
This passage is not simply a guide to how we should steward our money. Paul is encouraging us to be generous with every part of our lives.
We tend to focus on finances in this area because they are the easiest to measure and monitor. Indeed, getting a handle on our generosity in other areas is much harder to quantify. For example, how do you measure your generosity in listening to the forgotten? - How do you quantify spending time cleaning your house so your spouse won’t have to when they get home? That get’s a little trickier.
The truth is that all giving, all generosity, comes out of a lifestyle, not from an abundance of resources. That’s why this passage urges us to give not out of duty or reluctance . Instead, we should give cheerfully. God loves a cheerful giver, because the cheerful giver understands this:
“God is writing His story in the world, and I am not the main character.”
God gives us opportunities to give in small ways all throughout our day. Often, these moments are seen as inconveniences . Maybe you’rehurried or in the middle of something, and a friend calls who just wants to talk. It’s easy to tell them you're busy, or to let the call go to voicemail. It’s harder to stop for a minute and listen.
When we look at how Jesus lived,his life was marked by extraordinary generosity. He constantly gave to others, adding value and transforming the lives of others on a regular basis.. He was constantly giving to those society told him were the forgotten. In fact, he discipled those who would have otherwise been overlooked He blessed those in low circumstance, but let’s forget he also loved those who were affluent. In other words, Jesus was generous to everyone.
Any time we give, it is easy to become defensive of our resources (especially with our finances). We worry about not having enough time (or money) for ourselves. We worry about if our needs will be met. Yet Scripture teaches us that generosity is the best way to live because when we give, God responds!
Take a look into your own life. Where might God be inviting you to give ? To potentially be inconvenienced? How can you give back to the world through your talents, time, presence, etc.?
But maybe the better question is: What’s stopping you?