Welcome to my #40before40 blog series: What I’m Loving and What I’m Learning. I turn 40 in May.
I would love to encourage you with what God has been teaching me about giving cheerfully.
One morning in chapel at Gleanings (where we are currently serving as missionaries) God place on my heart these words: “I love movement.” And then He said, “I love Gleanings because things move here. Resources move here.”
It’s true. Gleanings gets donations of crops from farmers in the US and Canada to the poorest, starving people of the world, wherever we can get it. It is such a beautiful thing to watch! We get to see it happen day after day. Volunteers come and package the soup products: peas, lentils, rice, beans, etc. It is a true assembly line of God’s handiwork.
Resources move through Gleanings and go where they need to go. God loves to move resources where they need to go.
On a more personal level, God is teaching me that if I am the place where resources get stuck, then I can’t be the place where he moves the resources through.
He loves a cheerful giver who listens to his voice and moves resources where he leads, according to his heart’s desires.
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7
Keep reading, this is so cool. God is teaching me to be a cheerful giver, something I had forgotten how to do in my adult life.
I used to tithe faithfully and cheerfully as a teen. I was the poor kid in a rich neighborhood, so I started babysitting when I was 12, and I had my first real job when I was 15, working at a daycare. Then I worked as a dispatcher at a water conditioning company on Saturdays. I used to completely trust God to provide, and I worked hard because I knew my parents could not afford to buy me clothes or shoes, let alone the contact lenses I wanted in 9th grade. But God always provided what I needed, and even above and beyond what I hoped for.
But years later, after having kids, I’d forgotten how to be a cheerful giver and move my own money and resources cheerfully. I didn’t even know what that meant. Instead, I had become tight-fisted, with a poverty mindset, thinking things like, “What if I need this for my family? What if I will regret giving this away?” This mindset led to a garage full of junk and an empty bank account.
Fast forward to our DTS (Discipleship Training School). God reminded me how to give cheerfully, and I found that if I knew the idea to give something away was from God, then I was very happy to give. It made me so joyful! What a difference! God released an understanding in my heart, especially when I saw the example of others giving financially to our family. Funny how that works! When we were on the receiving end, which is very humbling, actually. God helped me understand the joy of giving cheerfully.
I began to understand money and resources in a new way. It’s all God’s, and we move it where he tells us to move it. I have everything I need! So I keep the resources moving. Everything we need will be provided by the Father. Everything belongs to my Father in heaven. He is so happy to give me what I need. And my Father knows what I need better than I do.
When we first moved to Gleanings, I could not believe how he provided everything so freely. It was so different from living paycheck to paycheck. I remember looking in my refrigerator during our first week as full-time missionaries, and it was basically empty. But in the cafeteria across the street, we had every meal provided for us. Cooked for us, available to us, and even with a team of people doing the dishes for us. Wow! What a picture of God’s house, his design for the way he gives! I have nothing and at the same time I have everything.
The cheerful gift works two ways: the cheer is there beforehand, moves the gift, and more good cheer is produced as a result.
Giving cheerfully brings more good cheer to the one who gives.
God doesn’t like things to get stuck. But sometimes things do get stuck for a time until we learn something or change direction, and then it is loosed again in the right direction.
Dear God, Please help me to see life, money, and resources the way you see them. Open my eyes to the ways I can make a difference and bless others through what I can give. Forgive me for getting confused about giving cheerfully. I love to give when I know the idea is from you and not from guilt, shame, or fear. Your ways are beautiful. Clear the way, Lord, for gifts to flow through my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If this post encouraged you, please join me in my next post about how God loves to use movement to create good cheer within us.