A hilarious giver

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A recent survey of our key readers turned up a few important suggestions we plan to incorporate this week. One comment that was echoed by the majority of responders said, “You haven’t taken full advantage of the opportunity to teach about stewardship and the spiritual practice of giving as part of our faith walk.” So to continue with God Loves a Hilarious Giver, we look today at just what is hilarious about this giving. 
God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. (2 Corinthians 9:7 MSG)
It is very clear, in all the biblical teachings on giving, that God doesn’t want gifts that are begrudgingly given. He doesn’t want pain in my heart as I give. He wants joy. In fact, if that which is brought is brought reluctantly, God would rather not see it. After all, He already owns all things anyway, so God is actually more concerned with what the gift does to us than anything it will address in the real world. It’s not like we have to help poor God out here. He doesn’t need it; we need it. We need to give. God is seeking our joy. He knows all about the joy of giving; He wants us to know it, too. Give, or shrivel up in selfishness.
To be sure there were needs to be met with the funds that were given when Paul wrote this. The early churches were mostly poor with lots of persecution going on. There were plenty of needs everywhere, but God was certainly capable of meeting those needs. He was seeking, more importantly, the benefit to the giver, as Paul goes on to write: 
For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. (2 Corinthians 9:10-11)
See what’s happening here? There’s joy all around, and an increase in generosity. 
It’s a principle of biblical giving. When you give, more will be given to you. I am not talking about prosperity doctrine – that doctrine of great material wealth to the giver as a motivation to give. That is the wrong emphasis, yet it grows out of an overwhelming amount of evidence, in both the Old and New Testaments, of the blessings of giving. It’s just that we are not to seek the blessing, but the giving, the joy of giving and an overwhelming appreciation for the amazing grace of the Giver who makes it all possible. God brings increase with joyful giving so we can give more. 
“God loves a cheerful giver” (9:7). The word “cheerful” is the Greek word from which we get our word “hilarious.” Thus, God loves a hilarious giver, and the reason for that hilarity is manifold, but my favorite is the hilarity of God’s grace to me. When I take a good long look at the fallibility, frailty and downright foolishness of my human nature, and then I grasp the fact that God loves me and has bestowed His grace upon me in abundance to where He sees no flaws in me, the true reaction to this is comic. It is astonishing. It is improbable and impossible. It is nothing short of hilarious. As Robert Capon calls it, “the grandest joke ever told.” 
And when you realize you are the recipient of this bold, audacious grace, and you are filled up with God’s undeserved favor and love, you can only laugh hilariously at your incredible good fortune, and give it out to everyone around you.
I remember the day I realized God wanted me to live – no, I wasn’t recovering from some life-threatening illness, I simply realized that God wanted me alive on the earth so He could know and love me – I had an uncontrollable urge to walk up to everyone I saw, hug them, and tell them that God wanted them alive, too! That’s just what the Spirit of God does in us. Fills us up and spills over into everyone around us. When we submit to the Holy Spirit, we become completely and utterly vulnerable, and there’s no telling what might happen then. We might just become a hilarious giver!  
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Lisa writes:
I once visited friends on a fixed income and left them $100 slightly hidden in their bedroom as a gift. They said they found it later, and they needed a battery for the car and it came to exactly $100 so they really felt it was a “God thing” for that to appear.  Sure brought a smile to my face!  Amazing to me, and perhaps even hilarious. 
Tell us your hilarious giving story, or create one right now by giving to the Catch Ministry or another cause of your choice, and write us about it be replying to this email.

We are jealous for you to have the pleasure of giving. Don’t put it off. We are currently featuring our work to expand the kingdom of God worldwide, which is in its biggest expansion ever, increasing services with boots on the ground in 141 different countries, and we would welcome your contribution toward our goal of $15,000. Throughout the week we will be sharing our plans with you – those that have already begun and those that are in process. We must provide new ways to bring the message about Jesus and how His gospel relates to the deep, unresolved needs of our generation and that of the millennials (and all generations) for love, meaning, community, peace and justice. Whether you give to the Catch or to another worthy cause, we urge you to give as the Macedonians gave, of their own free will, beyond what they could afford, with great joy, as you have given yourselves to the Lord.

Click on the picture below to enjoy our God Loves a Hilarious Giver video and ask if He might have you invest (or further invest) in the Catch today.
Is John crying or laughing? Some people aren’t sure. Click on the picture to find out!
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. 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. (2 Corinthians 9:7-8)
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4 Responses to A hilarious giver

  1. Mark says:

    Years ago as I was driving on a main express-way, or just getting off of it, to go to therapy a few months after getting out of the hospital from a coma. I saw this man with a sign that asked for help for money. I remember as I stopped my car and walked up to him, I was surprised out of all the cars on the exist ramp non of them honked their horn or yelled at me for stopping traffic. As I approached him and he had the blues & kindness eyes I ever seen and the soft’s hands, I remember thinking man for what I assumed was a homeless man, even though his clothes were raggedy, but didn’t smell & he had very soft hands, as I gave him all the cash in my wallet. (about 25-30 dollars, if I am remembering correctly) He smiled & thanked me.

    As I got back in my car to drive away, I looked in my rear-view mirror to see him, and he was no longer there! Amazed, I quickly looked all around to find him. I never did… The next day I was reading my morning devotion & it talked about how some have entertained angels. I remember smiling to myself thinking man did I just so happen to entertain an Angel?

    Thinking about this, brings a smile to my face and remembering I felt a need to stop my car and give to this man and was soooo glad I listened to that small, soft voice in my heart & did…

  2. peter leenheer says:

    Across from my sons house stood what is best described as a tiny old shack. It is the ‘eyesore’ in a well maintained neighborhood. My wife and my son began to feel sorry for the elderly couple that lived there. So they decided to begin to drop 20-30 dollars a week anonymously in his mailbox. That same ‘poor’ man knew I was a landscaper and a month or more later he asked me for a quote to landscape his yard. It turns out he was building a huge house in another part of the city, in a very upscale neighborhood. I guess it is the thought that counts!

    Another time I saw a man sitting by the side of the road. He looked tired and had a shopping cart with him. I assumed he was homeless and gave all the money I had. He looked surprised. When I drove away and looked in the mirror a car stopped and picked him up. It appeared to be his wife, well I guess they enjoyed Kentucky Fried Chicken on me that night.

    This two incidents did not destroy the joy of giving, in fact it made it fun. It always seems to me that God must have enjoyed that immensely.

  3. One of the greatest illustrations on the hilarity of giving and the joy in generosity is reflected in Alistair Sims’ 1951 performance as Scrooge on Christmas morning.
    Every every time I watch this particular scene from the film, it makes me giggle, it warms my heart, it inspires me to see the world afresh, and it helps clarify my understanding of what is genuinely important. “Now I know that I don’t know anything”:

    P.S. Just 63-days to go until Christmas! 🙂

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