Let giving flow from your heart, not from a sense of religious duty. Let it spring up freely from the joy of giving—all because God loves hilarious generosity! (2 Corinthians 9:7 TPT)
What comes to mind when you think about giving?
Their smiling faces made our tiredness fade away. After seventeen hours on semi tarred and gravel roads, we finally arrived at our destination in a small rural town in Southern Ethiopia. This would be home for the next seventeen days. Our team was there to support the local churches in their mission.
During this mission trip, I experienced “giving” in a new way. Martha, our hostess, and the other women who served us redefined giving. It was no small task to feed and care for a team of seventeen people without modern amenities. Martha and her team got up at the crack of dawn to prepare and cook meals. Some went to the stream to fetch water, while others roasted coffee beans and prepared injera (flatbread) on firewood stoves in a smoke-filled kitchen.
All these were done before 7 AM so we could get an early start on our day. I was most impressed by their joy and gratitude as they served us. Though they were poor by western standards, their gifts of care, time, and service flowed from their hearts. In my mind, Martha and her team win a special award for generous and joyful giving.
The motive behind their giving was gratitude.
In 2 Corinthians 8-9, Paul asked the churches in Macedonia and Corinth to take up a special offering for the poor Christians in Judea who were in dire need. Although the Macedonian churches were also poor, they were eager to help their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. They gave joyfully out of their meager resources. Their giving was not out of obligation, but from gratitude to God (2 Corinthians 8:2-5).
Many of us are fortunate to live in the United States, where there are abundant resources. Though we don’t lack material things, sometimes we struggle to give joyfully because we feel we don’t have enough. But our circumstances don’t have to dictate our giving.
Benefits of Joyful giving
1) Overflowing gratitude for what God has done for us.
God sent his Son, Jesus, to die and pay the price for our sins. He became poor so we might become rich. As we reflect on Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, let’s allow it to motivate us to give, out of a heart flowing with gratitude and joy.
2) Give cheerfully with thankfulness.
God loves a cheerful giver. A poor widow put two copper coins in the offering which was all she had. Jesus said of this woman, all these people gave out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on (Luke 21: 4, NIV). What made this poor widow give all she had? Perhaps, she remembered how God provided for her in the past so, she chose to give all she had with joy. For this widow, it was a matter of trust. When we trust God as our provider, we will give cheerfully and with thankfulness.
3) Increase in faith
Generous giving increases our faith. We are all blessed by God with various gifts and talents. Giving money, time, talent, and resources out of gratitude and joy is pleasing to God. It is one way of expressing our thankfulness. As we share our blessings with others, our generosity will cause them to express thanks to God and we will grow in our faith.
What is your motive for giving to others? In what ways can you express your gratitude to God through your giving?
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Find more encouragement from Tope Keku at www.hiddentreasuresandriches.com
Temitope is a scientist, author, speaker, coach, mentor, and Bible teacher. Her passion is to help women walk through hard times in victory and help them encounter God while learning practical ways to discover hidden treasures in their trials. She is married with four grown children and lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Connect with her at www.HiddenTreasuresandRiches.com.
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