Are you a hilarious giver?
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
2 Corinthians 9:7
Advent begins today. It is just 24 days until Christmas morning.
Part of our family’s preparations and celebrations of this time of year is to watch a handful of “Christmas” movies.
One of our favorites is A Christmas Story. There is one character who never fails to make me laugh.
The youngest child in the Parker family – Randy – is a fussy eater. His mother gets him to eat his dinner by encouraging him to pretend he is a little piggy at a feeding trough. Randy has so much fun eating the food he didn’t want anything to do with minutes before that he laughs cheerfully and uncontrollably.
Later in the movie, his older brother is modeling an outfit his Aunt Clara made him for Christmas. The father describes him as “a pink nightmare” and “a deranged Easter bunny.”
Randy again is laughing cheerfully and uncontrollably.
Each time, Randy’s laugh could be described as “hilarious.”
The word “hilarious” happens to be the word that is translated “cheerful” in most English translations of 2 Corinthians 9:7. This is how St. Paul – under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit – describes the kind of giver that God loves.
Giving to God is supposed to be hilarious.
But giving to God has gotten a bad rap in recent years because some Christian leaders have attempted to fund their ministries by laying a guilt-trip on the flock (and others).
It is a fact that many aspects of the mission and ministry to which God has called us require monetary funding. This isn’t anything new. In the New Testament there are several offerings called for by Church leaders by which food and other necessities will be supplied to hurting people.
But God never intended his people to use guilt to motivate giving. Of course, guilt is an incredibly successful motivator for giving.
But guilt can only go so far.
It is also inconsistent with God’s will. St. Paul says, in 1 Corinthians 1:8, that God sustains us “to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Through the blood of Jesus, our guilt of sin is removed. We are forgiven. We are free!
We cannot bring guilt back just to fund the mission of God!
Instead, we can be hilarious givers! Cheerfully giving of all that we have been blessed with so that others may know the wonderful Good News that Jesus is Lord!
Lutherans, at the end of the 16th Century, made a part of their official Confession of Faith this point, “truly good works should be done willingly, or from a voluntary spirit, by those whom God’s Son has made free” (Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration Article IV: Good Works, The Book of Concord, Reader’s Edition, ©2005, 2006 Concordia Publishing House, p 549).
As I reflect on how much God has done for me in Christ Jesus, I become a giver that feels like Randy in A Christmas Story: uncontrollably happy!
In other words, a hilarious giver.
Heavenly Father, I know you love a cheerful giver. I pray that you will put in my heart a spirit of hilarious giving so that others may know of your Son, Jesus Christ, in whose name I pray. Amen.
©2017 True Men Ministries