I recently had an interesting conversation with a certain man who will forever remain unnamed. He initiated the conversation but ended up walking away not liking the answer. In case you’re wondering, it was a biblical answer. He basically understood generosity as giving what he worked hard for to an organization or person less deserving. He didn’t see a need to give to the local church regularly because he saw the church as wasteful. He couldn’t answer why but I digress. On that note, he also expressed an attitude of entitlement for the things he didn’t work to gain. Can you say, oxymoron? In any case, it wasn’t the first time I had a conversation like this and unfortunately it won’t be the last. Besides, this shouldn’t be surprising because this attitude mirrors the “me first” culture we live in. Yet, the way the Apostle Paul explains generosity is counterintuitive to the way this particular man thinks and for that matter, how so many people think about stewardship and giving.
2 CO 9:6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written: “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
We learn some key principles from this text:

  1. If you keep everything for yourself, there won’t be a harvest
  2. You reap what you sow
  3. God loves a cheerful giver who gives freely
  4. God will meet our needs
  5. God supplies us with more than we need so we can share with others
  6. God enables us to give generously
  7. Generosity results in thanksgiving to God

Allow me to encourage you if you’re struggling in this area. When you give to the local church, give cheerfully because your gifts support . . .
Missionaries in foreign lands, missionaries in North America, Siouxland regional ministries such as: Youth for Christ, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Child Evangelism Fellowship, Her Health, Gospel Mission

Please don’t forget the ministry of our local church. Your generous giving supports worship, discipleship of all ages, transportation ministry, recovery ministry, deacon ministry, outreach/missions ministry, fellowship ministry, service ministry, pastoral ministry, etc. Just remember, as God blesses you, give cheerfully because He is working through you and the result is the praise of God.

Giving cheerfully also applies to the facilities, properties and ministry tools that God gives our local church to carry out His mission. As we use our building and continue to develop the property (a gift from God), we aren’t just doing it for us, but for those who haven’t heard the gospel, for those who are looking for help, for those who are hurting and for those who need to experience the love of Christ.

The facility and land that God has blessed us with is a center for worship, a house of prayer, a hub for discipleship, a meeting place for recovery and restoration and an oasis for fellowship. The 31 acres that enters onto West 19th Street is a ministry crossroads for the community. It is a blessing to our city.

Why should you give cheerfully?  God is giving you the privilege of joining Him in His work. He is pouring out His blessing through you. People will praise God because of your generosity. God promises a great harvest for those who sow generously. After all, this isn’t about your money but your stewardship. Everything belongs to God. So how will you manage His resources?

The way the Apostle Paul explains generosity is counterintuitive to the way many people understand it. For that matter, it describes how so many people think, it may be more accurate to say don’t think, about stewardship and giving. But dare to be different. Dare to allow God to challenge you. Ask God what He desires of you. And then, give with a clear conscious and a cheerful heart!

A Work in Progress,

Pastor Gene