“Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
When the Bible addresses generosity, it starts with what we have in our hearts, not what we have in the bank. In fact, research shows that those with the least amount of money tend to give the most. God clearly wants His people to develop a generous heart. So, the apostle Paul gives us three elements of authentic generosity.
First, generosity is personal. Paul begins verse 7 with, “Each one…” We’re each accountable to be generous with what we have. God doesn’t compare our generosity to what others do or don’t do with their finances. The Bible is very clear on this issue. When we stand before Christ in judgment of our works, “each man’s work will become evident” (1 Corinthians 3:13). While personal accountability is important, generosity should be driven by a personal desire to give out of love and obedience to the Lord.
Generosity is also purposeful. Paul says that each one gives,“as he has purposed in his heart.” Matthew 6:21 tells us that our hearts and our treasure abide in the same location. They aren’t roommates by chance. No one develops a generous heart accidentally. When we fail to be generous it’s often because we assign purposes to our money without consulting God. Authentic generosity involves righteous intent; seeking to use God’s resources to advance God’s interests.
Finally, generosity is pleasurable. Verse 7 ends by saying, “not grudgingly or under compulsion.” Some preachers try to guilt their congregations into giving, but people are usually more generous when they’re compelled by grace rather than by guilt. Cheerful givers also tend to be gracious receivers. They understand how incredibly generous God has been to them by paying their sin debt. Knowing the love and grace of Christ makes giving enjoyable!
The key to achieving verse seven is believing verse six. “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” This isn’t a formula for wealth. Rather, it’s evidence of complete trust in God to meet our daily needs. One day we’ll each give an answer for how we’ve handled the resources God provided. How are you intentionally using your funds for ministry? If you’ve trusted the grace of Jesus Christ with your soul, then you can certainly trust Him with your finances.