The Greatest Gift

December 24, 2023

As a mom, I absolutely love Christmas morning with my kids. I love seeing their faces as they open gifts from us and each other. There is something so special about their laughter, their commentary, and their grateful hearts. I think about how much I love being able to give them gifts. I would say that I am a cheerful gift-giver! I am like that with friends, as well. I always try to be thoughtful and intentional with gift-giving. However, when it comes to tithing, it can become so routine in my life that I forget what a joy it is and what an act of worship it is for me as a believer.

2 Corinthians 9:7 states, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” Many of us know this verse and have even quoted it at some point in our lives. But what does it mean to be a cheerful giver? How many of us can truly say, “Yes, when I give my tithe, I do so with gladness in my heart!”? I think we could all benefit from taking time to evaluate our motives and our heart posture with giving. Do we give because that’s what Christians do, or do we give as a response and an act of worship for what has been given to us?

As believers, we must pause and remember that we’ve been given the greatest gift that’s ever been given. This gift came to the world as a tiny baby (it’s what we celebrate this time of year!). He lived a perfect, sinless life and then died on the cross for our sins. Our giving isn’t meant to be some type of “tax” that we’re forced to pay. It’s meant to be an overflow of gratitude for God’s grace to us in His Son who became poor so that we might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).

We give because of God’s initiating love. We sacrifice with generosity in joyful response to the sacrifice of our Savior. This is the heart of gospel-centered living and giving. The summation of the Christian life is a life that’s filled with joy and lived out in response to God who loved us enough to go first. Simply put, we love because God first loved us, and we give because God first gave to us. Giving is in every one of our hearts because we are all made in His image. This is why we see humans giving even from the very beginning of time. Not because we are ordered by law but because it is who we are as image-bearers.

God, in His grace, didn’t leave us without help when it comes to understanding how to give. In Genesis, He put tithing (giving the first 10% of your wealth) into the heart of Abraham and Jacob. He then gave His people the law, and tithing was established as a blueprint for how to give. For us today, tithing is still important, because it helps us see God’s design for giving. Tithing is our starting line for becoming a joy-filled, response-inspired giver.

In the Christmas season and in every season, we give to glorify God. We give for our growth in righteousness and abundant joy. We give to encourage other Christians to give by our example. We give with cheerful hearts because we know God is honored when we do. What a joy-filled way to take part in God’s kingdom as we faithfully walk in obedience! When we live with open hands, we are blessed to see that the Lord can do so much more than we could ask or imagine for His glory and our good. Let’s open our hands together and see what God has for us in 2024!

– Anna Hopper

 

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