Author Thomas Carlyle tells how, when he was a boy, a beggar came to his door. His parents were out and he was alone in the house. On a boyish impulse, he broke into his own savings bank and gave the beggar all that was in it, and he tells that never before or since did he know such sheer happiness as came to him in that moment.
Jesus said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 NIV). More happiness comes from giving than in getting. The joyful people on earth are givers.
Here’s how you can be a joyful giver.
Replace amount with attitude.
Joyful giving begins with the heart. Grace-oriented generosity is the overflow of a liberated heart. Real giving has nothing to do with one’s stock portfolio or one’s weekly salary. It has everything to do with the heart. First and foremost, we are to give ourselves to the Lord. When we do, our treasure will follow the leading of our heart.
We are too hung up on amounts. We want to know what he makes, where she lives, and how much they spent for their new toy. God is much more interested in our hearts. How and why we give is of far greater significance to God than what we give. Attitude and motive are always more important than the amount.
Replace casual giving with committed giving.
What steals the joy from our giving is that we don’t “purpose,” we don’t plan our giving, we impulsively react. Often impulsive giving is forced giving. It steals our joy. God says we are to plan our giving with purpose. When we do that it brings a great deal of satisfaction.
It has been my experience that the problem with most Christians is not a lack of desire to give, but more a confusion and uncertainty because of a lack of planning. Christian financial planner, Ron Blue, says: “In working with our clients, it has been our experience that, with planning, their giving goes up, on an average, about four times what they were giving prior to doing planning.” And correspondingly their happiness increases, too.
Replace compulsion with cheerfulness.
Is our giving cheerful? It is done with hilarity? Why is it that the most serious time in a church service is when the offering plate is passed? In our church, we applaud when someone glorifies God through a song, when someone touches our heart through sharing a faith story, or when someone comes out of the baptismal waters with a glow of new life. Why don’t we applaud when we take the offering? Why is there not spontaneous smiles and laughter? Why not a sense of gratitude offered to God when we place our tithes and offerings in the plate?
The best kind of giving is from a heart of gratitude and thankfulness in cheer and hilarity.
Replace fear with faith.
Because of fear, our failure to give is not from a lack of resources but from a lack of faith. We simply are afraid that God will not meet our needs.
Replace guilt with grace.
Christians give not because they have been manipulated, coerced, cajoled. They give not because of guilt, but because of grace—God’s riches at Christ’s expense lavished on us. They give because of what Jesus has done for them. You can’t help but be generous when grace consumes you.
Did you know that if we practiced love our relationships would be stronger, our jobs would be more meaningful, and our ailments would be fewer? Earlier this year I wrote an encouraging book on love called Chapter 13: The Excellence of Love. The book gets its title from perhaps the greatest statement ever made on love in 1 Corinthians 13. This book provides a guide to love, and, if practiced, it will make us well and whole. Click here to claim your copy.