Cheerful

Cheerful
Author: Brandy Gibson, Creative Director
Freely Given - Part 2
As Christians, we are called to be generous with our resources and live a life of generosity. However, we tend to hold on too tightly to what God has blessed us with. We forget that who we are and what we have is ultimately God’s, not ours. We don’t own it; He does. Therefore, every gift and every blessing is from God and is for our benefit and also the benefit of others. We are called to be stewards of God’s blessings, not owners. Stewards have open hands, while owners have closed hands. When we hold on too tightly to what God has given us, we limit our ability to be generous to others.
Remember this: The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously. Each person should do as he has decided in his heart—not reluctantly or out of necessity, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work.
— 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

Merely giving what we feel is adequate to ease our conscience can be our go-to; however, when we give with joy and anticipation for God to use our gifts, we reflect God's kind of generosity.

I think about my kids when I think about being generous. Generosity is one of the traits that I want to instill in them, and this time of year, I get an opportunity to see that trait in action (or at least I hope to!). Generally, as brother and sister, they would be identified as "owners" and feel compelled to let one another know what territory and possessions are theirs. When it comes to Christmas, however, I can see a tiny switch take place as they pick out gifts for one another. They earnestly search and seek to get each other what they know would bring them joy. Leading up to Christmas, they have their loosely wrapped gifts tucked away and hidden in whatever space they can stash it in to make sure that their surprise is safe, and then when it’s time, they light up entirely as they exchange gifts that they specifically picked out for each other. I would love for them to realize how much better it feels to be generous instead of territorial. 

I think that’s probably how God feels when He sees how we regard our possessions and gifts. Merely giving what we feel is adequate to ease our conscience can be our go-to; however, when we give with joy and anticipation for God to use our gifts, we reflect God's kind of generosity. God gave us His unlimited resources and Himself, not because He had excess or felt obligated, but out of love knowing that nothing less would save us. As we emulate God's generosity, we experience His joy and receive more of Himself.

Think about the joy and anticipation that children have when they give gifts. In the same way, when we give to glorify God, we should eagerly anticipate how He will use our gifts to bring joy to others and further His kingdom.

Let us follow the instruction in 2 Corinthians 9:7 and decide in our hearts how much to give, not reluctantly or in response to pressure, but with joy and anticipation to see how God will use it. Let us be cheerful givers, emulating God's generosity and reflecting His love to the world.
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