2 Corinthians 9:6-7 says, “Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”
This verse is of course referring to the giving of financial offerings and tithes to the work of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. It might be one of the most poorly obeyed commandments in the entire Bible.
The reasons for this aren’t difficult to understand.
It is NOT natural or easy for people to be “cheerful” when they’re giving away their hard-earned money. If you’re like me, you’ve got your own bills to pay and you’ve got stuff you want that’s available in exchange for that money. Putting it in the offering basket means needing to find other money to pay those bills and giving up the chance to have that stuff we want, or need, or have convinced ourselves that we need.
So many people don’t give at all, and others give “grudgingly” out of a sense of duty, or (sadly) even fear that if they don’t God will withhold a blessing or otherwise punish them. People would no-doubt LIKE to have a “cheerful” attitude while giving, but they don’t know how.
If this is ringing any bells with you as you’re reading this, allow me to share what allows me to be “cheerful” as I’m dropping my financial offerings in the plate at my congregation.
A few months ago one of the leaders of the Believer community in Jerusalem said that if the entire Body of Christ worldwide tithed the Biblically indicated amount of 10% of their income, the total would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 Billion US dollars annually. I don’t know where he got that estimate, but even if it’s off by a bit, it’s still a staggering figure.
Just imagine how much better shape the world would be in if the Church of Jesus Christ had that kind of budget.
A comparison can be drawn to the activities of George Soros, who according to Wikipedia has donated around $11 Billion to various Left-wing causes over the last several decades, mostly what he would call “educational” programs aimed at young people in various countries. The effect of this “philanthropy” speaks for itself, with millions of people adopting a Liberal/Progressive ideological worldview and effecting the political, social, economic and cultural orientation of cities, countries and entire civilizations.
George Soros did all of that by spending, over the course of several years, a tiny fraction of the amount of money the Church of Jesus Christ should have been spending every single year. Like it or not (and I don’t) one can’t escape the fact that Soros wanted to see a change in the world and he strategically invested his own personal money in projects that would bring about that change.
We who call ourselves followers of Jesus Christ can and MUST do the same thing.
Because the Church CAN influence society and the culture for the better. But it doesn’t just happen. It costs money and it costs time. Every donated penny and every volunteered minute that you and I can spare is needed.
To address an issue which might be on some people’s mind as they read this, I know I am blessed to attend a church where I can be confident that my tithes will be well and responsibly spent, and I also know not everyone who is reading this will feel they can say the same thing. If you’re among them, I will advise you that I consider the time I spend praying for my pastor and the leadership team to continue to have the wisdom and integrity to be good stewards of those tithes to be part of my offerings to them, and to the Kingdom.
So, when you put your hard-earned money in the offering plate at church, or you spend your scarce free time to volunteer there, you shouldn’t look on it as giving up the opportunity to buy something you want for yourself or spend time on something you want for yourself. You should see it as an investment towards something you DESPERATELY want for yourself.
You want your church to have the resources it needs to buy food to help widows, orphans and others who are in distress, to have a radio show where the people in your community will hear the Gospel, to buy supplies for the Sunday/Shabbat school where your children go during the service, to pay your pastor a salary which will allow him to devote himself full-time to the work God has called him to do, etc.
You want what what God wants and what Jesus instructed us to pray for in Matthew 6:10, for His Kingdom to come “on earth as it is in Heaven.” That’s what we’re getting in exchange for the money that we put in the offering plate and the time we volunteer to help at the church, or to attend the prayer meeting, or whatever.
When I think about that, it helps me to stay cheerful. I hope it helps you too.