“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 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. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
By Isaac Choi (Chicago UBF)
Apostle Paul encouraged believers to remember three things to encourage giving to God. He had to encourage them humans are born selfish; they love to get rather than to give something.
First, the principle of farming (6). If you plant many seeds, you can expect a great harvest. God blesses those who sow generously. They will reap generously. This simple truth opens our eyes to see the reality of the spiritual world.
Second, the right attitude of giving (7). Our attitude is more important than the amount when we give. God is concerned about how we give from the resources we have. According to Mk 12:43-44, a gift loses its value when it is given reluctantly or for the recognition of others. However, when it is given cheerfully out of gratitude to God and a spirit of generosity, God is pleased.
Third, God is able to bless you abundantly (8). Our God is the Almighty Creator. He is our loving Father and we are his dear children. So he is caring for us with his abundant blessings. In Mt 6:25-34, Jesus pointed out that people’s problem is anxiety in life. Due to this, people become selfish, greedy, indifferent and complaining. As a result, they have no joy, no peace and no life-security in their hearts. Inward peace and joy have nothing to do with abundance of possessions or lack of it. They have to do with an inward spirit of trust. This is the reason why Jesus commands, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Mt 6:33) Freedom from anxiety is one of the inward evidence of seeking first the kingdom of God.
In 1978, I arrived at Chicago as a lay missionary with my wife Rebecca and three children. Two of my children were still drinking milk from bottles and in diapers. Before getting a job, I dedicated myself to a factual study of the whole Bible for three months as my decision to serve college students. By God’s provision, I got a job. But I had to take three buses to work, spending four hours on the road each day. I needed a car, but my humble paycheck was not enough to buy a car unless my family reduced our offerings. After prayer, Rebecca and I decided not to buy a car, but keep offering two-tenths of our income as our expression of faith. After three months, however, I was laid off with a one-month severance check. One month later, God enabled me to get a better job as a customer service engineer with Xerox Corporation. My company provided a car for my work and for personal use as well. How wonderful God’s provision was for this unworthy servant! This job provided for my family fully, so that M. Rebecca could serve God’s work as a full time Bible teacher for college students. All our children received a full college education: Isaac Jr. (Harvard / Princeton / Notre Dame), Becky (Loyola / Northwestern) and Daniel (Northwestern). God’s blessing did not stop there. I retired from the Xerox Corporation on April 20, 2013 after 34 years of service. During those years God enabled me to serve my mission as a Bible teacher, CBF teacher and prayer servant. God provided for my retirement with a pension plan through the company. So I now serve God’s work continually, through educating teachers and parents (T & P). My God is the God of Immanuel, God of Jehovah-Jireh and the God of Ebenezer.
On October 2013 we attended a small gathering of Christians discussing giving, hosted by the Generous Giving ministry, at Lake Geneva, WI. Our financial advisor Mr. Mike Wang (who is a faithful Christian) encouraged us to attend this conference. It consisted of two Bible studies on Mt 6:25-33 and 2 Cor 9:6-15, and another 30 questions to God during the two day gathering. We also wrote a reflection based on our study. Through this conference, I learned two things: 1) Donations are another option for my assets. 2) The need for education on Christian generosity (Based on their survey, after the education session, over 70% of participants think about donation positively)
One word: God loves a cheerful giver!