Wednesday, September 29, 2010

PUT YOUR HEART INTO IT!

God does not accept grudging service from anyone. “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men” (Colossians 3:23). Heartily means, “with all your heart—all your strength, all that is within you.”

Paul writes, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity [unwillingly]…” (2 Corinthians 9:7). The apostle makes a dual application of this matter of giving: it has to do with our financial offerings—and the giving of our very lives to God’s work!

Paul wrote that the church in Macedonia literally begged him to let them take up a collection for the poor, suffering saints in Jerusalem. These Macedonians were so wholly given to the Lord, they gave out of their poverty!

“…But first [they] gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God” (2 Corinthians 8:5). Paul says the Macedonians gave much more than money. They told him, “Here is our offering. Now what do you want us to do? We volunteer our services to the work of God!” They spared nothing in serving the Lord and their brethren! “…beyond their power they were willing of themselves” (8:3). They gave beyond their human ability—with much prayer!

If you give only because you believe it is commanded—or if you’re always wondering, “Is tithing a New Testament concept, or just Old Testament?”—your heart-attitude is all wrong! If you give ten percent because the pastor asks it of you, that is wrong also. None of this gets to the issue—to the heart of what it means to give!

If you’re going to give yourself wholly to the Lord and his service, you must do it cheerfully! “…for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).

I am sorely convicted by this verse—because so often I go about my life and ministry without the joy of the Lord. I hear so many Christians say, “I’m so weary, I don’t know how I’m going to make it. Oh, God, you’ve got to come and give me strength!” That is a human cry, common to us all. But to give oneself to pleasing God, it must spring from a cheerful spirit—available to us all by simple, childlike faith.

The word for cheerful in Greek means “hilarious, merry, glad”—having a light heart, willingness, gladness; being full of hilarity. God is saying, “Whatever you do in your labors for me—whether it’s interceding, worshipping me in my house, or seeking me in your secret closet—do it cheerfully! Be joyful and generous with everything—your money, your service, your time, and your life!”

I ask you: Has serving the Lord become a bore, a drag to you? Is it just a burden, leaving you mostly sad and weary?

God doesn’t want you complaining about your burden—he wants you to chase those things out of your life by laying hold of his Word!

Your checkbook to his resources is faith! He is saying, “I have already made provision for you. What need in your life is so great that I cannot supply more than is required?”