Cheerful Giver

“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”  Malachi 3:10

There is a widely accepted school of thought among Christians today based on this verse.  The main idea of this teaching is this: if you do what God asks you to do, give generously of your tithes and offerings, and are a “good enough person,” God will bless you in all areas – specifically financially.

This teaching is dangerous though; when something bad happens to a follower, those who believe this idea interpret the negative experiences as that person falling out of God’s good graces.

It would seem that a better verse on which to base our financial giving would be 2 Corinthians 9:7, which says, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Did you catch that?  God loves a cheerful giver.  Not just any giver, but one who does so with an open, joyful heart.  And when it comes to setting an example for our young people, it is vital that we exhibit cheerful, joyous giving – regardless of life’s current circumstances.

A recent study (ICM, 2014) conducted by the Institute for Church Ministry asked young people about their giving habits – specifically in regards to tithing.  When asked, “Do you pay tithe from the money you get?” 71% of young people strongly agreed or agreed that they tithe.  However, for the remaining respondents, they were either unsure of their giving habits or disagreed with the statement regarding their giving habits.

As you can see, nearly a quarter of young people struggle with giving their tithes back to the Lord.

Tithing isn’t just a matter of giving; it is a matter of obedience.  God asked us to give back to Him just a small portion of what He has given us.  We can either set an example of  giving in a close-fisted, miserly way, grumbling as we write our tithe check each month.  Or, we can show thanks for the bounty which we have been given and joy that we are able to return a small part of it to the Lord.

Isn’t giving to God cheerfully better than giving just so that we can get something back?