Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cheerful Giving is Living Right

2 Corinthians 9:7 “Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering.”

 Up until now, whenever I read that first verse, I always thought it was just about the giving. But when you put it in the context of the entire Bible, which would include the second verse listed here, it becomes to mean so much more. If you are living the way you should, at peace with your “brother,” then you will have the “cheerful” disposition while serving and giving to the Lord.

When we look at the example of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4, God compares their offerings. Abel’s shortcomings was not because he gave fruit from his fields, while Cain gave animals from his flocks. It came down to their attitudes. We can assume that Abel was living right with the Lord, and therefore gave the very best to God. But Cain had something against his brother, and was not living in complete joy and peace with the Lord. Cain did not give the best of what God had allowed him to grow and gather, but gave the leftovers from his crop-yield with an angry, bitter attitude. Instead of adjusting this attitude and getting right with God and his brother, he thought he could pretend his way through obeying God, and let his hatred go to the point of murdering Abel.

Well, back to the word “brother” from the second verse listed above. This is to be interpreted as our Christian siblings – brothers OR sisters. We are to live in harmony with each and every one of them. Our love for God should be spilling out to those around us... especially to those closest! And when we are practicing and experiencing this, this will impact how we serve and give - it is the evidence of our close walk with God.