September 14

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 6Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

In all the New Testament this is the one passage that speaks the most clearly about the principle of giving. The converts gave all that they had in the time that followed Pentecost. As the evangelists went out to convert other regions, we don't see the same forsaking of all their possessions. They are now free from the confines of the Law, so they are not even required to give according to the Law's instruction. What is the new standard or guideline for giving?

When the church in Jerusalem went through a difficult time of famine, the other churches took up a collection for them. The Apostle Paul told them that their abundance should make up for the lack in Jerusalem. Then he gave them an eternal principle to go by. If you plant only a little seed, you only reap a small harvest, but if you plant an abundance of seeds you will reap bountifully. What you put in is what you get out. Investing in the Kingdom of God is not something that returns small dividends. Don't limit yourself to giving only a set percentage.

Everyone should give as he has decided in his heart. The grace of God will work in your heart to produce good works. Paul wasn't worried about whether or not they would give. He did want them to be prepared when they came to make the collection, but he was not worried about the individual's gift. He trusted the Holy Spirit to work on each heart. The Spirit not only helps us know how much to give, but helps us have a generous and joyful spirit in giving. If you must twist arms to get others to give, it is not pleasing to God. God loves a cheerful giver, not a coerced one.

Consider: Has the Holy Spirit been working on your heart to give to your church, a needy family, or a ministry? Do so generously in Jesus' name and you will be generously blessed.