It isn’t enough not to grumble when we give, no matter what we are giving or when, be it money, time, goods, or encouragement, on Sunday mornings or individual opportunities during the week. It isn’t enough not to begrudge the things we are giving up when our sharing deprives us of them. One of the reasons God says we should work is so we will “have whereof to give to him who needs,” Eph 4:28, not so we can have everything our hearts desire.
Would you say a movie was “hilarious” if you chuckled once or twice? Would you call a joke “hilarious” if it simply made you smile? The word is a joyousness that bubbles over, that cannot be controlled, that you do not want to control. Vine’s describes it as a “joyfulness that is prompt to act.” You don’t need a cattle prod to make this person give; the joy he feels in giving takes care of it automatically.
I grew up seeing someone stand before our assemblies saying, “Separate and apart from the Lord’s Supper,” just before passing the basket. But no matter how much I heard that phrase, as a child I always thought there were three elements to the Lord’s Supper. And though now, as an adult, I know better, the fact that we often pass the plate within minutes of that ritual keeps me quiet and solemn when I put that check in. I wonder if we ought not to at least smile when we do it. Look at one another and share the joy of sacrificing a little something to the Lord. In this blessed country we get precious little chance to feel any pain on his behalf.
On Sunday morning, when that basket comes by, look at someone near you with gladness in your heart. And if you hear someone laughing, smile. Maybe someone’s joy has finally overflowed.
But this I say, he who sows sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Let each man do according as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity, for God loves a cheerful [joyous, bubbling over, prompt to act, hilarious] giver, 2 Cor 9:6,7.