There is a story of a very rich man what was approached to contribute to a major financial campaign. The need was explained and the request for support was made. The man responded, “I understand why you want me to give $100,000. I’m a wealthy man. But there are some things you don’t know. Did you know my mother is in a very expensive nursing home? Did you know that my brother died and left a family of five with no insurance? Did you know that my son is serving in an inner city mission to help the poor and his family lives well below the level of poverty? Well, if I don’t give any of them a penny, why do you thin I’ll give any to you?
We have all met people who refused to give. It wasn’t that they didn’t have it to give, they just didn’t want to. Yet, those whose heart has been transformed by the grace of God are willing to give.
Grace giving must come from a willing heart; it cannot be demanded or forced.
In 2 Corinthians 8-9, Paul reminds the Corinthians of their willingness to give to the poor in Jerusalem. They enthusiastically promised to help them.
What makes a gift acceptable to God is the “willingness” to give. It is the condition of our heart and the circumstances of our life that are important. It is not the attempt to measure up to the expectations of others or to relieve the guilt of not giving that should determine how much we give.
God sees the “heart gift”. If the heart wants to give more, but we are unable to do so, God sees it and records it accordingly. But if we give more than our heart wants to give, God records what is in the heart, no matter how big the offering might be.
Being willing to give involves surrender; to surrender our will to God’s will. Surrender is to do whatever God wants us to do; and to do whatever God doesn’t want us to do.
In 2 Corinthians 8:10-12, Paul highlights the biggest hindrance to giving.
“And here is my judgment about what is best for you in this matter. Last year you were the first not only to give but also to have the desire to do so. Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have.” 2 Corinthians 8:10-12
Procrastination Hinders Giving.
The only command in Paul’s teaching on giving in the whole of chapters 8 — 9 is in the command that introduces verses 11: “Now therefore perform the doing of it” (KJV). In other words, finish what you start. There is a great difference between promise and performance. The Corinthians had boasted to Titus a year before that they would share in the special collection for the poor in Jerusalem but they did not keep their promise. So Paul commands them to finish what they started. Keep your promise to God.
Procrastination involves intentionally and habitually putting off something that should be done. It’s not just forgetting; it’s forsaking. It is not merely being accidentally delayed; it is intentionally ignoring. The procrastinator’s favorite word is tomorrow. Paul uses decisive cure to the plague of procrastination in verse 11: NOW.
Paul says to the Corinthians, essentially, “If you’re ready, you can do it. You can complete the project even if you don’t think you have the resources. Do what you can now without hesitation; don’t worry about what you can’t do.”
It is good advice in all areas to finish what you start for Christ. You will be better off, if you made up your mind to do something for Jesus Christ, to go ahead and do it. Our willingness to do something needs to be matched by our completion of it.
Do you have a generous heart? If you are hesitant, consider these to help you:
1 – Recognize God’s gifts.
Consider God’s blessings in your life. Forget about the things you don’t have. Instead, think about what He has given you. Hasn’t God been good? Sufficient food, clothing, and safe shelter. Blessings of good health, happy families, growing children, and close friends . . . and so much more. Yes, some of these things have come and gone. Maybe we are struggling with less than we once had. But consider your life as a whole. Then respond to Him with thanksgiving. Can you be as generous to God as He has been to you?
2 – Remember God’s promises.
Call to mind a few biblical principles that promise the benefits of generosity. 2 Corinthians 9:6, “…he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” God promises that the more we give, the more we receive. We may not be rewarded with material blessings, but we can rest in the promise that God won’t forget us and will reward us eventually. In fact, He will graciously provide all of our needs “according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). So don’t worry! Call to mind God’s promises of provision. He will take care of you.
3 – Review your heart.
Nobody but you can do this. Your giving reveals your heart. Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matthew 6:21). If you are lack a generous heart, it may due to a stingy heart. Ask several hard questions, such as:
- Is my giving proportionate to my income?
- Have my resources increased while my giving has stayed the same?
- Am I motivated by a duty or joy?
- Is my giving simply a transfer of funds or an expression of love?
- If someone else knew the level of my giving, would I be a model to follow, or would I feel embarrassed?
- Have I prayed about giving, or am I an impulsive responder? Do I have a plan?
I hope you will receive the blessing of a generous heart. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”