2 Cor. 9:6-15
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 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. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:
“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.” l
10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
There is an old trope used in preaching this passage. The Greek word translated “cheerful” in verse 7 is “ἱλαρός” and it is pronounced “hilaros.” The discerning listener might notice the similarity in sound to the English word “hilarious.” This Greek word in, indeed, where we get our English word. This will preach, to be sure; the problem is that it is a fallacy or a logical error. You don’t read the meaning of a later word into an earlier word. “Cheerful” is a good translation of what the word actually means. Be a cheerful, glad, or happy giver. Paul’s admonishing is not a strong one like we find in the Old Testament where the tithes and offerings were well regulated and required. Paul doesn’t do that here.
Instead Paul commends his readers to be generous and to give what each of them has decided, NOT under compulsion. For some this might seem like an opportunity to get out of being generous. Remember, God doesn’t need your money, but He wants your heart. If you see this as an opportunity to get out of generosity, you might pause and ask yourself what that says about your heart.
Today, pray for God to show you your own heart on this matter. Second, pray for an opportunity to be generous with someone today and then actively look for that opportunity.