Paul states that “…God loves a cheerful giver”. (2 Cor 9:7)
Does that mean if you are not a cheerful giver then God doesn’t love you or He doesn’t love you as much as someone who is a happy giver?
I remember being in a few services where this very cheery attitude was preached or expected. People would come down to the front with offering or tithes in hand with a huge smile on their face or laughing all the way to the collection basket.
I certainly wanted to be happy in my giving. But is this the meaning of this verse? Nope, I have discovered!
If not cheerful
Let’s say you are not a ‘cheerful giver’. Then, have you ever given:
- out of compulsion
- out of guilt
- out of fear of God
- out of what other’s think
- for appearance’s sake
- for personal gain
- to manipulate or control
I confess I would have fit in most of those at one time or another.
But good news! There is no condemnation in any of the above! You and I have been caught in a trap.
Now who set that trap? Religiousity – man, not God.
Years ago I heard the Lord say, “silent traps”. At the time little was my understanding. But growing in fullness has significantly begun to expose these silent traps.
Because they are ‘silent’ we have no idea we are trapped. God did not make us to be trapped, confined, limited, or controlled.
Now let’s check out the word cheerful and its true Biblical meaning.
The Greek word for ‘cheerful’ is hilarós – prop. propitious (favorably disposed toward someone); disposed because satisfied – describing someone who is cheerfully ready to act because already approving (“already persuaded”); “won over, already inclined” is only used in 2 Cor 9:7 where it describes spontaneously non-reluctant giving.
Hilarious versus Cheerful
Charismatic Religiosity taught me that this scriptural cheerful means “hilarious” – they said our word hilarious came from the Greek ‘hilarós’. Sure looks that it could have.
Even so, the definition of hilarious
- hysterically funny, hysterical, uproarious, side-splitting, knee-slapping, boisterously merry
is a far cry (maybe I should say ‘laugh’) from the Greek ‘cheerful’ of being favorably disposed or already persuaded!
Hey, if the Spirit moves you to laugh uproariously – let ‘er rip. Love those moments.
But, 2Corinthians 9:7 is not talking about that kind of hilarity. Paul has a much richer point, which I will unfold in the next post.
For now, please realize you were not meant to be trapped in silent traps, but to be tapped into God’s wealth of grace that overflows with pure joy and simplicity. The Macedonians knew that, by the way.
- Listen for those silent traps of religion. Once you ‘hear’ them, and see them for what they are, get out. His powerful grace enables you to do so. Don’t be stuck in the container!
- God is the most joyful being around and He is always cheerfully happy in His giving. Oh to tap into that!
- When you move into the revelation of how disposed He is towards you, how persuaded He is about your awesome being – you can’t help but be cheery! So, be of good cheer!
Next post – find out that God does not love a cheerful giver. Say what?!