Day 53: February 22, 2014

Today's Reading(s)

2 Corinthians 9:6-15
6 Remember this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each person should do as he has decided in his heart —not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. 9 As it is written: He scattered; He gave to the poor; His righteousness endures forever. 10 Now the One who provides seed for the sower and bread for food will provide and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way for all generosity, which produces thanksgiving to God through us. 12 For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. 13 They will glorify God for your obedience to the confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with others through the proof provided by this service. 14 And they will have deep affection for you in their prayers on your behalf because of the surpassing grace of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.



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Being a Cheerful Giver
by Stephen Moore, Member of Brentwood Baptist, Brentwood Campus

In these final ten verses in 2 Corinthians 9, the Apostle Paul is concluding two chapters devoted to giving. Verse 6 starts with, “Remember this,” or the NASB says, “Now this I say,” which is another way of saying, “Let me summarize all this for you.”

Being a Cheerful Giver isn’t something you can will yourself to be or achieve by just focusing on it. If that were true, then I wouldn’t have struggled with this for so long.

For years, I’d focus on being cheerful, sowing bountifully expecting a bountiful harvest, and wanting to be enriched in everything. If you’re honest with yourself, you may have had similar thoughts, since our culture has helped ingrain it into us. If you aren’t careful, you soon believe that these verses, a summation on giving, have no practical application to your life.

Then I discovered the problem. I had it all framed incorrectly. I was trying to force God’s ways to conform to the world’s ways.

First, I had to embrace that God owns it all, including me, for I have been bought with a price. I am just the caretaker of what He has entrusted to me.

Second, the standard of measurement is the heart, not the head. God’s currency is love and no amount of math can figure it out. Furthermore, I could not get my head to figure out my heart until one day I came face to face with my own stinginess and it broke my heart so much that I wept over it. I realized I would never be cheerful or Christ-like as long I was doing my own math and being stingy.

Third, I thought the purpose of giving was to receive in return. Was I ever wrong! As I began to get it framed correctly, my eyes were opened to the fact that as God’s grace does abound to you, it is for more good deeds in order to glorify God. The final verse, which is the climax on giving, isn’t “Thanks for your philanthropy” but “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!”

If we are not cheerful, the problem is our heart, and the solution is redirecting our heart. Our heart follows our treasures (Matthew 6:21). Try putting your treasures in God’s kingdom, and a cheerful heart will eventually follow. God also loves an obedient giver.

Lastly, giving is not God’s way of raising money – it’s His way of raising His children.

Praxis

Ask yourself if you are really cheerful about giving or if you feel under compulsion to give. Reread these verses, the summation of giving, and meditate on the words the Holy Spirit illuminates in your heart.

"Father, I desire to worship You in my giving so I can experience all Your grace. Amen."


About JourneyOn Today

Today's devotional series accompanies the Spiritual Practices Foundations Curriculum which deals with 24 different spiritual disciplines. We will break for an Advent series in December and continue the second half of Spiritual Practices during the first quarter of 2015.