We’ve heard it so many times before: “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 7). Easy enough, right? I’m generally an optimistic person. I volunteer for stuff. Case closed.
Not so fast.
This line popped into my mind recently, and I’ve been considering the depth of these five little words, strung together to form a challenge.
Being a cheerful giver means not expecting thanks or praise for your efforts. It means what you do is intended to glorify God and not yourself. It means letting it roll off your back when the person you’re trying to serve rejects your offering or at least doesn’t think it’s as awesome as you do. It means accepting that the vision of someone else on the team is different than yours, and either way it’s getting done.
How often have I faced anything less than unbridled enthusiasm at my attempts to help and responded internally with, “I’m just trying to help!”? Am I really “just” trying to help? Or am I looking for something in return — a kind word, recognition, a favor sent my way? That’s not what God’s looking for.
God’s looking for a giver who puts the other first, and doesn’t put the self as a close second; a giver who offers what is asked and maybe more, but never with an expectation of a single word in return; a giver who realizes the simple, mundane tasks are an opportunity to share the joyful message of God’s unconditional, undeserved, unending love.
It could also be said that God loves a humble giver. God loves a peaceful giver. God loves a detached giver.
God loves a giver who recognizes the crosses she’s been given for what they are and carries them with love. Too often I complain about something in my life, then turn around and pray, “Your will, God, not mine!” expecting something else to come my way and be my cross. Maybe my cross isn’t as dramatic as someone else’s. Maybe mine wouldn’t be a cross for someone else.
Maybe all that looking around is what’s preventing me from seeing what’s right in front of me, what God is asking me to give.
Okay, so maybe this isn’t as easy as it sounds. But then again, God isn’t asking us to do it alone.
“All things are possible for God.” -Mark 10:27
Copyright 2018 Lindsay Schlegel