April 22 – Be Ready – Be Ready to Give

Read 2 Corinthians 9:1-11

“Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”2 Cor 9:7 NLV

He had been with the Corinthian people and they had pledged generous gifts; he is checking in with them, reminding them of their promises. Paul realized that the follow through was the hard part.  Things happen.  People forget or they realize that they had pledged way more than they could really afford.  Paul was reminding them of what they had said and to plan on completing their promise so they can do it willingly and not begrudgingly.

It is so easy to get swept away in the moment when you see starving children or abused animals on TV.  We sometimes find ourselves pledging everything under the sun to the cause!  Sometimes our emotions take the place of logic and we give out of a sense of duty rather than generosity!

I remember a church service when we were first married.  We were expecting our first baby, I wasn’t working, and we were living on my husband’s salary.  At that service we were asked to make a promise to God on what we would give.  Being newly married and living from paycheck to paycheck, we didn’t have a lot of money to give.  But my husband promised we would always give whatever we could.   I remember putting on my card that I would dedicate my life to service within the church.

We kept both of those promises.

When an opportunity came up to help teach a Bible school class, I did it.  The next year I got to teach the class by myself, which lead to teaching Sunday school.  I really liked teaching by then and, when Jon got laid off work again, I decided to go back to college to get my teaching certificate. With my mom’s help and a series of events that made it possible, 3 years later I had my degree and my first official teaching job. 

I never forgot my promise to give of myself to God’s church and continued teaching Sunday School and Bible School. In the meantime, my husband, being the manager of our finances, faithfully kept putting our offering in the offering plate every week.  Sometimes, when he was laid off, working for $1 per hour shoveling manure, the offering was small but we always gave what we could. Forty years of teaching and fifty years of marriage later, we both agree that that was one of the best pledges we ever made! Were we miraculously made rich?  Financially, no! Spiritually, God has given us riches untold!

What is God asking you to promise to give to Him, His church and His people? Remember, God doesn’t just want your money.  He wants YOU!  He wants your dedication!  He wants your time, talent, and your heart and He doesn’t want you to give sparingly or begrudgingly.  We are told to give willingly and generously!

Is it time for you to have a talk with the Master to see what He wants from you? In what way can you best serve God and His Kingdom?

If you let Him lead you, you won’t regret it!  

Pat Arnold

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