The first time I heard that God loves a cheerful giver, I was sitting in a church on a cold Tuesday evening watching Dave Ramsey jog back and forth on a TV. He was wearing his then-iconic blue button down that he wore for all 13 classes of Financial Peace University.
Even though I had attended church all my life, and graduated from a Christian university, I had never heard that phrase.
God loves a cheerful giver? Really? What does it even mean to be a cheerful giver? It was a brand new truth. A brand new scripture. Turns out I had ignored 24 years of ‘read your Bible’ advice.
It began to sink in, though.
God is a giver. God wants me to be a giver. God loves a cheerful giver. God wants me to be a cheerful giver. God wants me to enjoy giving. God wants us to enjoy giving.
That was 2009.
Becoming a Cheerful Giver
Sure, I had debt. Not enough to stress me out though. Truthfully, up until that year I hadn’t thought enough about money for it to cause anxiety. I suppose that’s a first world middle-class perk.
Since then I’ve thought a lot about money. It hasn’t been stressful though. It’s been joyful!
Why? If most of the world [yes, even us middle-class Americans] are stressed out about money, why can I say it’s been joyful?
What I have discovered is that when I ‘do money’ how God teaches me to ‘do money,’ it is not burdensome.
Rather, it takes its proper place as one more tool for my service to his Kingdom.
The first step to having cheerful money is to become a cheerful giver. That’s where this site comes in. I want to help you help others by generously sharing God’s blessings.
Giving will take the peace and joy and influence of your personal finances miles beyond those who don’t give.
The Roots of ‘Cheerful’
The Bible verse Dave was referencing and that I’ve built this site on is 2 Corinthians 9:7, “…For God loves a cheerful giver.”
I’m a teaching pastor, so here’s a moment of New Testament Greek for you. Don’t sweat it. I really just want you to know why I like the word cheerful so much.
In the original language cheerful in this verse is the word hilaros (ἱλαρός).
This is the only place in the entire Bible hilaros is used, and it has a lot of great meanings: cheerful; merry; joyous; happy; healthy.
Here it is in the verse:
Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a hilaros [cheerful, merry, joyous, happy, healthy] giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7 ESV
This tells me that my giving should be characterized by a cheerful joy.
If I’m giving out of obligation I should not give. It isn’t cheerful giving. That’s involuntary giving and God isn’t interested.
If I’m reluctant to give I should not give. It isn’t cheerful giving
If I’m giving in response to pressure, I should not give. It isn’t cheerful giving.
When I give it should be something I enjoy.
To be a cheerful giver means I must personally and prayerfully decide what giving looks like for me, and then go about the work of doing it cheerfully.
The most fun I’ve ever had with money is when I’ve been using it to bless someone else. Perhaps you know what that feels like. Perhaps you have a story that would reinforce that God loves a cheerful giver.
I hope understanding the roots of cheerful will help you build a foundation for biblical giving.
The Famous God Loves a Cheerful Giver Passage
For centuries men and women of all walks of life and all socioeconomic classes have read this verse and been spurred to give. What has God been doing in their hearts?
Most truths can be understood better by reading them in context. At your service:
2 Corinthians 9:6–15 (NLT)
6 Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. 7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 8 And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. 9 As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”
10 For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you.
11 Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God. 12 So two good things will result from this ministry of giving—the needs of the believers in Jerusalem will be met, and they will joyfully express their thanks to God.
13 As a result of your ministry, they will give glory to God. For your generosity to them and to all believers will prove that you are obedient to the Good News of Christ. 14 And they will pray for you with deep affection because of the overflowing grace God has given to you. 15 Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words!
Let’s Give Cheerfully
If you are tired of the stress of money and the burden of money and the struggle of your personal finances, you need cheerful money.
If you want cheerful money it starts with cheerful giving.
That’s why I’m here.
You’re invited to join my list of subscribers and you’ll receive my free Giving Goals Sheet to help you generously share God’s blessings. Set Giving Goals!
Do you have any cheerful giving stories?
Check out these Stories of Generosity to be encouraged and inspired. God is always working through the generosity of his followers!
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