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.2 Corinthians 9:7
Have you ever given out of compulsion? As in, you were in a sense, forced to do so because you saw it as an obligation. How often have you given just because you are a believer? Because you felt you had to? It is what you are supposed to do, right? You have to give. It is natural for a believer to give.
I have given under compulsion all too often. Some may not even see an issue with it. “To give is great, you are a Christian after all.” And honestly, no one sees your intentions, just your conduct, right? So, what is the harm in giving out of compulsion?
The issue with compulsion is the state of the heart. You do not have the spirit of giving in those moments you give compulsively. That is the harm. In those moments, you just see giving as a job, or a law. Giving is just a rule or regulation to be followed. There is not any heart behind the action. And what about reluctance?
Have you ever given reluctantly? Have you ever given something to someone unwillingly and hesitantly? Without wanting to do so. Maybe you thought that what you were giving away could be used better elsewhere. Or you preferred to keep whatever you were giving because you could use it?
Again, there have been times I gave reluctantly. I have quite a few times, actually. I have even justified myself giving reluctantly in the past too. “I did not withhold the object that I wanted to withhold, I still gave it up so it still worked out in the end, I am good.” Have you ever told yourself those things before or was it just me?
The issue with reluctance is love. You are not loving your neighbor as yourself when you reluctantly give something away. “Well, I do not love myself,” you might say. I mean, I have before. But, well, we do. We do love ourselves. Just not in the way you may have thought.
Do you buy yourself food? Clothing? How about some fun toys at times? I personally am a sucker for books. Have you ever withheld the last bit of ice cream from others so that you could eat it, instead of asking anyone else if they wanted it? Hey, you cannot tell me that you have never even justified your actions based on your intentions before! Could you? Anyway, you get my point. These things are a form of loving yourself.
It is a state of preferentiality. We prefer the best seats, the last bit of ice cream (can you tell I am craving ice cream here?!), a soft bed, our favorite foods, etc. We prefer to keep the things we should be giving. We at times prefer to put ourselves before others. So, when we are presented with an opportunity to give, we can be reluctant.
But a cheerful giver wants to give and even gives all they have. They do not hold anything back. They prefer to put others before themselves. They give because they do not have to give. Nothing is telling them to do so, they just want to. They are not prideful but loving. They want to see the happy faces that will result. They want to shine God’s light. God loves cheerful givers because they are an image of God. He is pleased to see us give generously and joyfully because he does so. He will never give compulsively or reluctantly.
Do some self-reflecting. Because God sees our hearts and sees how we give from our resources. He sees both intent and action. Have a happy weekend and God bless!
Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on. – Mark 12:41-44