January 30, 2009
THE ATTRACTION OF GRACIOUS GIVING
by Charles R. Swindoll
When I consider the magnetic effects of gracious giving, four qualities immediately emerge. First, grace is so attractive: Grace individualizes the gift. When you give by grace, you give individually. You give proportionately to your own income. You have needs and you have an income to meet those needs. That combination is unlike anyone else's on earth. You are an individual. When you give on that basis, your gift is an individual kind of gift. We are not all shoved into a tank, blended together, then "required" to give exactly 10 percent. (Though if everyone gave 10 percent, we would have such an enormous surplus in God's work we would not know what to do with the extra . . . but I'm sure we'd quickly find out.) It is much more individualized than that. Grace, remember, brings variety and spontaneity.
Here's the second reason grace is so attractive: Grace makes the action joyfully spontaneous. "Not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7). I never have been able to understand why everyone in the church looks so serious during the offering. Wouldn't it be great if when the offering plates are passed in church next Sunday that instead of grim looks, stoic silence, and soft organ music you heard laughter? I can just imagine: "Can you believe we're doing this?" "Put it in the plate, honey. Isn't this great? Put it in!". . . followed by little ripples of laughter and applause across the place of worship. Wonderful! Why not? Deep within the heart there is an absence of any compulsion, only spontaneous laughter. The word cheerful is literally a Greek term from which we get the word "hilarious." "God loves a hilarious giver."
Now for a third reason grace is so attractive: Grace enables us to link up with God's supply line. Look at verse 8 of 2 Corinthians 9: "And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed." When we possess an attitude of grace, we give. We give ourselves. We give from what we earn. And He, in turn, gives back in various ways, not matching gift for gift, but in an abundance of ways, He goes beyond.
Fourth: Grace leads to incomparable results. "Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all, while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you" (2 Corinthians 9:13--14).
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.