Monday, December 4, 2023

The Attitude of Giving – 2 Corinthians 9

Monday, December 4, 2023

The Attitude of Giving – 2 Corinthians 9 

Why do we give gifts during the holiday season?  Some reasons may be that it is expected, gifts are an expression of love, it’s a gift exchange, that’s what we do, or maybe because we have a desire to give.  The attitude I have as I shop or plan for gifts makes a big difference in what my emotions will be as well as how thoughtful the gift is.  There may be family members who expect gifts, and we believe the gift must meet the standards that person sets by the gift they give. Shopping for that person may result in very little joy or excitement as the criteria for the gift is all about fitting expectations.  We reached a point in my family that we had no idea what the loved ones needed or what they even liked because we didn’t live nearby or spend much time together.  So, gift giving became an exchange of gift cards.  At that point, we realized the act of giving was just going through the motions.  We no longer exchange gifts routinely.  When gifts are given it’s something given with thought and care rather than from expectation.  If we know the need or the desire of the recipient and can surprise them with that thing, then both shopping and giving can bring positive feelings for all.  Selecting something as an expression of gratitude, love, or just to bring joy makes the search worthwhile. Seeing the joy it brings to the recipient is exciting.   

What do we find about the reason for giving and the approach we must take in scripture?  Let’s look at 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Remember this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously.  Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.  

Paul was writing to the church in Corinth concerning the needs of the believers in Jerusalem. There was a collection being taken by some of the churches to supply the needs of the Jewish believers who were suffering persecution.  He described how some of the churches who had limited resources had given generously while the more affluent church in Corinth had been slow to complete the contribution they had promised.  He reminded them it was a gift, and they were free to give as they chose.   

However, he reminds them that they will get as they give.  When one sows a crop but only scatters very limited seeds, he will not have much to harvest.  But if the farmer sows a large quantity of seeds, he will have a large harvest.  He is talking about both material and spiritual bounty.  The gifts we give should be within our financial means and with an open, generous heart.  While a thoughtful Dollar Store gift may not be as extravagant as someone else’s gift from a name brand vendor, the love and care with which it is given will enhance its value.  

We must give cheerfully.  Giving is not to be done against our wishes.  Those who give from a sense of obligation have the wrong attitude.  The meaning of the gift is lost in the sour attitude of the giver.   

Then, when we give joyfully, from the resources we have, God will be gracious to us.  God’s undeserved favor will overflow to those who give cheerfully.  The gift may not be a material gift. You can give your time to babysit for parents of young children so they can have some time to rest.  Gifts of our time are often more meaningful than “things”.  Perhaps taking someone a meal or dish, you know to be a favorite of theirs is the best expression of love you can give.   

As we enter this season of giving, remember the reason and attitude that God has for us to give. Get your heart right, give what you’re able to within your resources, and give cheerfully.  This applies to our gifts to God through service as well as with money.  Some live with the attitude that money will solve all our problems.  That attitude leads to the idea that if someone is unhappy, in trouble, or has needs of any kind we should just give them some money or things. Often times our family or friends may need our time and attention more than things.  We grow spiritually and emotionally when we take time to have for relationships grow to the point that we understanding their needs then meet them with the resources with which God has blessed us.  


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