“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 NIV84)
Stewardship is a tough thing for us Christians to grow into. It challenges us at the very line between faith and reason. God has created us to be logical creatures who can do math, and He has created us as spiritual beings who trust in His ability to do things beyond what our mind can comprehend. At this line between reason and faith, we need to know that God in His word always tells us that His word rules/wins. We are called to be obedient to His word even if that obedience doesn’t make sense to our reason and logic. But, when it comes to my stewardship, I can’t help but do the math. If I give a percentage of my time, talents and treasures to the Lord, then the net result will be that I have less time, talents and treasures to be used as I see fit. Whether I give an hour a week or $100 a week, my mind tells me that I will have less time or money that week.
The problem with this train of thought is that it is a train of human thought. God works in a differing scope of economy. God is never a one-for-one transactor. He is always quantumly transacting. He can sow 100 seeds and harvest from 150 plants. He can touch one life, and through that life touch millions. Our God can take our hour or our $100 and bless us in such a way that we never miss it. Somehow He makes it all work out because that is what He promised to do.
So what’s the secret to proper stewardship? Start with your heart, not your head. Paul says in our verse today, “Give what you decided in your heart to give.” True stewardship is a faith thing, not a reason and logic thing. God calls us to move as our heart tells us to move and not as our logical minds might move. Second, he tells us “not to give reluctantly or under compulsion.” We need to freely give in such a way that left hand doesn’t want to pull out of the offering plate what the right hand just put in. We need to give as the Lord is moving us to give. It ought to be as freely given and God’s grace is freely given to us. Last, Paul tells us to be “cheerful” givers. Stewardship should be an opportunity, not a obstacle. We ought to be giving God back some of the time, talents and treasures He has given us in a spirit of joy. We ought to be thankful that the Lord provides us the opportunity to thank Him in this awesome way.
May the secrets of stewardship move us to be cheerful givers!