Fiscal Hilarity

Fiscal Hilarity

The size of our giving is not to be a matter of revelation, but of devotion. In other words, each of us should “do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). Now think about that carefully. God likes giving to be as far removed from drudgery and duty (though it is our duty), as possible. It is to be pure joy.

It would be difficult to imagine any giver doing so often or generously without joy in doing it.

I began to be curious about giving early on. In fact, I can still picture the book on giving that my mother read to me, one of only two children’s books I remember. My first book on George Muller, the man who fed and clothed over 10,000 orphans, made the deepest impression. I was drawn into a lifestyle that was so attractive that I could not resist it. I immediately began to live out what I had learned in a radical way. That pursuit still enchants me.

On the one hand, I’m enamored with the promises related to giving. How is it that we can give and give and give and still have enough to give more? Jesus said, “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Lk. 6:38). He was describing what has happened in my experience so often, so dramatically, so regularly, and so faithfully, that its validity as a promise is unquestionable. He has the right to change that for higher purposes without my complaint (He is sovereign after all), yet I can say that God has graciously allowed an increase for giving steadily through the years.

The size of our giving is not to be a matter of revelation, but of devotion. In other words, each of us should “do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7). Now think about that carefully. God likes giving to be as far removed from drudgery and duty (though it is our duty), as possible. It is to be pure joy. The word “cheerful” is hilaron— from which we get the word “hilarious.” But the meaning in that day would be more like “ready because of a heart full of joy.” Remember the Macedonians who “begged us with much entreaty for the favor of participating in the support of the saints” (2 Cor. 8:4)?

And secondly, giving is a sign of something. You give according to your own desire, not begrudgingly and mournfully as if you are parting with your vital organs. It is the expression of your love. God likes to keep it on this basis. Attitude is every bit as important as amount—no, much more so. You should want to give.

Have you ever dreamed of giving more? I mean, have you dreamed of giving a lot. By “a lot” I mean “a lot compared with what you have, not what somebody else has.” What about 20%, 30%, 40%, 50%, 60% or more? You wouldn’t do that without love and God wouldn’t want you to do it without cheerfulness. But it can happen.

Years ago I decided that I would try to give more every year. I’ve not done this perfectly nearly every year since that little whimper of a desire was voiced to God. It wasn’t a vow and I’m under no obligation, but I am free to do it. Jesus never puts down radical givers.

I have to keep in mind two other matters: First, “Am I taking care of my family in a reasonable way as the Lord has instructed me?”

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