I’d like to talk about another commonly misunderstood verse – 2 Corinthians 9:7.
You’ve probably heard it quoted and talked about in churches right around offering time: “God loves a cheerful giver, according to 2 Corinthians 9:7! Don’t forget to tithe and give to our building fund!”
Let’s start out talking about why this is somewhat misquoted, and what this verse really means.
There is a part of this verse that doesn’t quite make sense – the fact that it is pointed out that God loves a certain group.
After all, God is love, so obviously He loves the cheerful giver. He loves the grumpy giver, and the person that doesn’t give at all. His love isn’t dependent on such things, but many people who quote this verse imply the opposite.
So what does this verse imply? Perhaps it’s something of an idea that God delights in when we give cheerfully, and not out a result of being manipulated by smooth talkers.
In fact, if we actually dare to look at the first part of the verse, we will come across something those smooth talkers never wanted us to see: “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion…”
In other words, we are to obey the Holy Spirit in what we give and even if we do (and if we do, do it cheerfully and with a servant’s heart); not just give in to an inwardly emotional response to words put in just the right way.
Do you see where most who quote this verse for offering time are actually contradicting the point of the verse itself?
Most of the time, the verse is used to manipulate.
And if you’re not sure what manipulation is, it’s witchcraft. To smooth-talk, whine, or guilt someone into doing something is to essentially practice witchcraft and is of a spirit of manipulation, and most definitely not of the Holy Spirit.
That probably sounds ridiculously radical right about now, but so was Jesus in truth.
When did we get the bright idea to try to change people’s minds and make them second-guess instead of letting Jesus do His job?
If someone is doing the Lord’s work and living by faith, it’s manipulation to guilt a regularly paid church-goer into giving them money. Can we not trust the Lord to provide for our finances?
Sidenote: I am not trying to tell you that you must resign from your job to be in the Lord’s will. Nor am I trying to encourage the unbiblical view that Jesus has to work in traditional ways like jobs or fundraisers. It’s fine with me if He decides to tuck some cash under my pillow or send a check from above. It’s also fine with me if He decides to prompt someone to give. And on top of that, it’s completely okay with me if He tells me to get a job when I’m grown or have a group support me or have a fundraiser. The bottom line is this: God is allowed to supply me with finances however He wishes – even if it doesn’t fit in my “box”. After all, if it’s His will, it’s His bill.
But this isn’t all about money – we should be willing to give of our time and objects, too!
But most importantly, we need to be willing to give up everything for the Kingdom. Not just some select things – everything. Every single thing we own, love, do, or take pride in.
Are there some things that you aren’t willing to give up for Jesus?
And continuing with the assertion that it is not all about money, we should be able to trust God to provide for not just finances – for our health, relationships, and struggles.
Here’s another bottom line: it is completely unbiblical to use manipulation for any purpose, including raising funds for “good things,” and it’s even worse to use a Bible verse in the process.
And with those points, I would like to conclude my post on 2 Corinthians 9:7 – more commonly recognized as the “God loves a cheerful giver” or “offering” verse. God bless you all!