Chuck Bentley: What If I Am Not a Cheerful Giver?

Woman’s hands on black background

Dear Chuck,

My wife and I have decided to give regularly. She’s thrilled, I’m not. If God loves a cheerful giver, I dread knowing what He thinks of me.

Modern Scrooge

Dear Scrooge,

While I don’t like addressing you as Scrooge, Charles Dickens’ classic book Christmas Carol about a greedy, stingy, selfish man by that name has a very happy ending. Scrooge experienced a transformation of his heart and wallet.

I do appreciate your honesty and sincerely understand your pain. I once walked in your shoes before God changed my heart. That is what it took for me and my wife to become united on the issue of giving generously and cheerfully.

God Loves You

Your dread in knowing what He thinks of you is answered in 1 John 4:18-19: There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If you believe in God, then you do not have to worry about punishment. Discipline? Yes, but only because he loves you and wants to conform you into His image.

Thomas Chalmers wrote: The love of God and the love of the world are two affections, not merely in a state of rivalship, but in a state of enmity…the only way to dispossess [the heart] of an old affection, is by the expulsive power of a new one.

The expulsive power of a new affection? Yes. God.

How? And, how does this impact our desire to give generously and joyfully?

God Loves It When You Give With Joy

The Bible, God’s living Word, reveals who He is and what He’s done for us. Reading it gives us a glimpse into the depths of His marvelous grace and mercy.

In it we learn that He is our Provider. When we ponder this deeply, the correct question to ask ourselves is not “how much of my money should I give?” but, “ how much of God’s money should I spend on myself?”

Since we have four boys, I can recall taking them to a fast food place for hamburgers and fries. It gave me great pleasure to get them a large cheeseburger with hot french fries. On more than one occasion, since I did not order fries, I would reach across the table to take one of the boy’s fries before they were all gone.  Almost instantly, one of the boys would say, “Hey Dad, that is mine!!” He had forgotten that I provided the burgers and every single french fry on the table…all of them! He had also forgotten that I could provide all the fries he likely would ever be interested in eating! These became teaching moments for our boys. (They have since become much more willing to share their fries when I want a few.)

But doesn’t that give you a picture of our own attitudes? God provides to meet all of our needs and we balk at an opportunity to give what He gave us! It gave Him joy to provide; He wants us to find joy in giving it to others!

As Crown’s founder, Larry Burkett, used to be fond of saying: “Most of what God has given you is not for you.”

Although many are deceived into believing otherwise, God is greater than anything the world offers. He is love. And, we love because He first loved us.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Chuck Bentley