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. 2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV
People are generally self-centered by nature. Even generous people are often generous after their own needs have been met. We give out of our abundance – our surplus. However true merciful giving that is Godlike is sacrificial by nature. They are more concerned about the wellbeing of those who are receiving what is being given than their own wellbeing. Their giving is giving to God, recognizing that all they have is from him in the first place.
When Jesus was in the temple watching everyone giving their offerings many gave out of their abundance, but he commended a poor widow who put in two coins as she had given all that she had to live on.
There was a severe drought at the time of Elijah and the Lord sent him to a poor widow for her to give him food. She said that she had a little flour for her and her son then they would die. However, at Elijah’s instruction she made him bread. Her flour and oil never ran out after that.
We can’t out-give God, but neither should we give in order to receive. We should give out of hearts of generosity to be a blessing to others even if we never receive anything in return. Our giving should not be out of duty, by compulsion, or grudgingly, but cheerfully. Not giving when we know we should, because we’re first looking at what we’ll have left, is a lack of faith that God is able to meet all your needs according to his riches in glory. Faith acts because it explicitly trusts in the providence of God.
Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14:12-14 NIV
Paul reiterated the words of Jesus: In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Acts 20:35 NIV
Giving isn’t necessarily only money. It can be time, a listening ear, something else that we have that someone needs.
Have you been a blessing to someone in need recently? Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.