Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7
This is another verse I’ve heard people use for their own agendas. They explain to me that they can decide to give whatever they want…or nothing at all. Is that what it’s really saying?
First of all, in the original text, the only place the word give appears is at the end of the verse – the word giver. It’s also important to note that the beginning of this verse is not so easy to translate.
The Greek word translated as decided is only used this once in the entire New Testament. I realize that all the major translations use words such as decided, purposed, and determined. But in actuality, this word is pregnant with meaning.
It’s more than a simple decision. It means to prioritize what you’re deciding to bring forth from your storehouse. I understand why that phrase is hard to place into this verse and still have it be readable in English.
I think what Paul is trying to get across is that each person should bring forth what is the priority of their heart. That puts a whole different spin on it. That’s because what comes out of our heart is in direct relationship to what we’ve put into it.
In telling His disciples about how to recognize people by their fruit, Jesus said the following…
The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.
In the context of this verse, Jesus is relating this to how someone speaks. But I believe, based on how the Lord worded the principle, that this could be applied to any area of life. It fits right in with what Paul was saying to the Corinthian church.
That’s why the apostle tells us that our giving should not come from grief or distress. We’re not buying a blessing from God to relieve our problems. I’m not giving because someone made me feel guilty.
I give because of what’s planted in my heart. I continually put God’s Word into it. Then, the Holy Spirit has something to work with when it’s time to give. I hear from the Lord and I give from the overflow of what’s in my heart.
That’s the best way to be a cheerful giver. This means that you feel good about what you give. In that way, you will both be a blessing, and be blessed by this grace of giving.
Question: how you seek God when it’s time to give an offering?
© 2020 Nick Zaccardi