Do you want to have some fun this new year? Then give! Paul points this out as he encourages the Christians in Corinth to help fellow church members suffering through famine:
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 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. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (II Corinthians 9:6-8, NIV)
Yes, if we want to make God smile, give and give prayerfully. But some find no pleasure in giving. They do it only “reluctantly or under compulsion.” They feel like they don’t have enough to share or, frankly, they don’t see the value to themselves in it. Certainly, the amount one gives to the church toward the advancement of God’s kingdom is a matter of importance. However, the attitude in which our gifts are given is of vital significance to God. As Paul points out, our giving is to be done willingly after we pray to God about it. We are not to do it grudgingly or under pressure. As Paul adds, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give…for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Some people do complain about being asked to give. But some, and may their number increase, give to Christ because they enjoy giving. They love Christ and the church, and their tithes and offerings are given systematically with a song in their hearts.
The actual meaning of the Greek word translated “cheerful” in II Corinthians 9:7
is “hilarious,” or “joyful.” God loves a cheerful giver, and gifts presented in this spirit accomplish great things. As indeed the offering given by the Corinthians was to meet the pressing needs of the Jerusalem saints.
So, do you want to make a difference? Do you want to have a hilarious 2020? Yes! Then try giving.