Are you cheerful about paying taxes?
“And it is he who will supply all your needs from his riches in glory because of what Christ Jesus has done for us.”
Philippians 4:19 TLB
We tend to focus on the word “need” here and think that God only supplies the bare minimum – only what we truly “need”. But the word “supply” in this verse should be our focal point. It basically means to cram full or to satisfy. God doesn’t just want to provide you with enough to get by on; He wants to cram you full and satisfy you so that you’ll be blessed and can be a blessing to others. When God called Abram, He told him that He would bless Abram and make him a blessing (Genesis 12:2). The point here is that you can’t give what you don’t have; to be a blessing to anyone you must first be blessed. God wants to make you a blessing by blessing you! One of the major reasons for this is that there is a huge joy in giving and being a blessing. Jesus said that it was more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35) – there is a real joy and blessing in being a blessing. I haven’t met a generous person who isn’t a happy person.
“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:7 (KJV)
Giving correctly (under New Covenant principles) means that we’re giving purposefully and that we’re giving from our hearts – because we want to. We shouldn’t give out of obligation (feeling we have to), guilt (to try and make our wrongs right) or manipulation (wrongly thinking that if we don’t give we won’t be blessed). When we’re giving correctly we certainly will be cheerful givers (joy-filled and happy) and God delights in that kind of giving. Did you ever get a gift from someone and you could see that they just gave out of obligation? They are usually not too happy about having to give you something, even if it’s not much (and it usually isn’t). But you can see when someone gives you a gift from their heart! It may not be big or expensive but you can feel the love coming with the gift, and they’re giving it with joy. Likewise, we should be happy givers, and if our motivation in giving is correct, then giving will help us to be happy.
The word “cheerful” here is “hilaros” in the Greek which literally means, “merry, hilarious or cheerful.” Our giving should really be out of a place of joy. Another way of looking at this is that God loves a “hilarious giver”, someone who’s giving is plainly hilarious: they are giving to the degree that it is clear that they are certainly trusting God! Cheerful giving also implies a willingness on the part of the giver to give. You can’t give cheerfully if it’s forced (most people aren’t cheerful about being forced to pay taxes); our giving must be free-willed as we purpose in our hearts.
Generosity is part of the nature of Christ, and therefore part of our new nature as Christians. When we choose to be generous, we’re choosing to be who God has created us to be which will lead to much joy. Generous people are happy people!
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