Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
Thoughts for Today:Will God protect us from the breakdown of our car at the most inopportune time, from losing our jobs, or from a home appliance that stops working when it's needed most? Of course He can. Think about it: We don't always know what He's done because the potentially catastrophic event never happened. Sometimes our lack of faith is from our perception of what He didn't do (the times He chose not to intercede), rather than all of the times He was right along beside us, protecting from all of the things that could have gone wrong. We just didn't know. (Malachi 3:11: "'I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,' says the Lord Almighty.'")
In our passage today, Paul tells us, our knowledge of the goodness of God is the foundation and basis for our hearts to give. And we should do so, not with reluctance or compulsion, but joyfully. Giving is the best way we have to demonstrate our trust and love for God.
Should we give even if we feel reluctant or under some sort of coercion? Of course not. Why? Because God loves a cheerful giver. However, if we've decided in our hearts to give, the Lord promises that we will be blessed. (Malachi 3:12: "'Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,' says the Lord Almighty.") When the world looks at God's people, they should sense a lack of worry -- plus freedom, joy and contentment within. Why? Because of our confidence that He will protect the same things He has given us. Therefore the generosity of our hearts is found in the Lord's promise that He will not only rebuke the enemy (and protect us in the process), but also reward and renew us.
Questions to Ponder:God loves a cheerful giver, yet so many of us have lost our joy. Could it be that we've stopped giving? How much has God done for you that you know nothing about? What about the sicknesses avoided, car accidents prevented, and loved ones brought home safely? We just don't know all of the ways God is at work in our lives. One thing I am certain of -- I am very glad He is watching over me. His goodness and provision is the reason for my joy, even though I might be currently experiencing hard times or tragedy.