Joyful Generosity

Thoughts disentangle themselves . . . over the lips and through the fingertips.

I learned that saying over thirty years ago, and just about every time I put it to the test, it works! Whenever I have difficulty comprehending the complicated or clarifying the complex, I talk it out or write it out. This is especially helpful when it comes to scriptural truth. For some strange reason the human brain seems reluctant to retain divine information simply by hearing it.

Take the importance of joy, for example—or, more specifically, giving joyfully to God. Second Corinthians 9:7 says: “Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Look again at those final five words: “God loves a cheerful giver.” The original meaning of the word translated here as “cheerful” is hilarious, and this is the only time it’s found in the New Testament. It’s the hilarious giver God prizes.

I can think of a couple more examples of hilarious givers in the New Testament: a man named Onesiphorus who “often refreshed” Paul (2 Timothy 1:16-18); and a church—the Philippians—who contributed generously to Paul’s needs (Philippians 4:14-16).

Now, how does all this translate into daily life? How do these thoughts disentangle themselves to become meaningful parts of our lives? I’d like to make the following four suggestions for ways we can bring joy into our giving.

Reflect on God’s gifts to you.
Hasn’t He been good? He certainly has to me. Better than I deserve! My list includes good health, harmonious family, sufficient food, clothing, and shelter. Friends. Great job. In light of God’s magnificent grace, a cheerful heart and openhanded generosity seem the most natural responses.

Remind yourself of His promises regarding generosity.
Call to mind a few biblical principles that promise a bountiful harvest to those who sow bountifully. Jesus Himself spoke of how much more blessed it is to give than to receive. Bumper crops are God’s specialties, so we have nothing to restrain us from dropping maximum seed. He’s honored by such faith.

Examine your heart.
This is something no one else can do for you. Nobody knows the combination to your private vault. Only you can probe its contents by asking the hard questions: Do I really believe God’s promises on giving generously? Am I responding as I do because I care or because I feel guilty? Is my giving proportionate to my income? Have I prayed, or is my giving impulsive? Am I a consistent giver or more hot ’n’ cold?

Glorify God by becoming generous.
He prizes generosity, especially joyful generosity. Perhaps we need to break the habit of being so conservative, so careful. Maybe we even need to “scare” ourselves with acts of generosity . . . going out on a limb, as it were, and genuinely trusting God to honor our financial faith.

Well, that’s it. Just a little lips-and-fingertips clarification. It has helped me to review this. I hope it’s helped you, too. Goodness knows, all of us would be wise to address our reluctance to sacrifice financially for the cause of Christ. After all, our goal is joyful generosity, isn’t it?

Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, “Joyful Generosity,” in The Finishing Touch: Becoming God’s Masterpiece (Dallas: Word, 1994), 100-101. Copyright © 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Posted in Stewardship.

Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.

ఖచ్చితత్వం, స్పష్టత మరియు ఆచరణాత్మకత అన్నీ చార్లెస్ ఆర్. స్విన్డాల్ యొక్క బైబిల్-బోధనా పరిచర్యను వివరిస్తాయి. చక్ ఇన్సైట్ ఫర్ లివింగ్ కు బోర్డు ఛైర్మన్ మరియు డల్లాస్ థియోలాజికల్ సెమినరీకి ఛాన్సలర్. చక్ టెక్సాస్‌లోని ఫ్రిస్కోలోని స్టోన్‌బ్రయర్ కమ్యూనిటీ చర్చ్ యొక్క సీనియర్ పాస్టర్‌గా కూడా పనిచేస్తున్నారు, అక్కడ ఆయన చాలా ఇష్టపడేదాన్ని చేయగలుగుతున్నాడు-ఇష్టపడే హృదయాలకు బైబిల్ నేర్పిస్తున్నారు. ఆచరణాత్మక బైబిల్ అనువర్తనంపై ఆయన దృష్టి 1979 నుండి ఇన్సైట్ ఫర్ లివింగ్ రేడియో ప్రసారంలో వినబడుచున్నది.