Have you ever looked at something from a certain perspective and afterward realized you had misjudged the situation? Maybe you interpreted what others were thinking or saying from a selfish or distorted point of view. Or even thought they were being selfish or too needy? This usually affects our attitudes along with our actions. Then we have a tendency to give or help out of obligation, but not necessarily with a cheerful heart. 2Cor 9:7 admonishes, “Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver.”
I’m thankful the Bible touches on issues like these; giving us guidelines so we can keep our attitudes in check and make sure we respond or act appropriately. I like the example I read recently in Philippians 4. Paul is in need of provisions and he thanks the Philippian Church for their support. (Vs.16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.) He also encourages them to remain faithful in giving even though it was a sacrifice as they were struggling to meet their own needs. As I continued to read, it was verse 17 that really caught my attention. Paul says, “Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.” We have an eternal account that grows when we willingly serve the Lord by serving others. Sometimes I think we forget that fact. We get caught up in this life and lose sight of what’s eternal. We must remember that we cannot out-give God and that our attitude in how we give is just as important in God’s eyes as the gift itself. It may come back to us in this life or we may not see the full reward until the next, but either way Hebrews 6:10 encourages us, “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have showed toward His Name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”
Yes, our labor of love and generosity certainly helps the ones upon whom it is bestowed, especially when they are doing the work of the Lord. But Paul clearly states that God’s purpose goes beyond blessing others. He desires fruit in our lives and when we willingly obey, when we cheerfully give, growth comes, and along with it His eternal reward. Not that we should give merely to get, but that we should do it out of a heart that helps further the Gospel… no matter what it costs us.
Our lives will have the most impact when we, “Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” Ps 100:2 I have found when my heart is right and my perspective clear, it’s so much easier to give of my time, my talents and my resources. Not because He desires a gift, but that we might have fruit that abounds to our eternal account.
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