A study in Scientific American tested whether it is better to give than to receive. Participants were given a choice between receiving a monetary award or donating money to a charity. The result? “Our brains seem to suggest that the joy of being a gift’s giver may eclipse that of being its recipient.”
As we conclude this month’s study on the incredible gifts God has given us, what is our response? If God has given us everything from breath to nourishment and from love to hope, it should be clear that we too are called to give. The Corinthians had faithfully supported Paul with finances and assistance. “For I know of your eagerness to help,” said the Apostle (v. 2). Their giving supported the Lord’s work and Paul’s ministry. He encouraged them to be consistent in their giving and not to neglect those in need.
This passage reminds us how to give. First, we are to give deliberately and thoughtfully “what you have decided in your heart” (v. 7). We are to carefully consider the needs of those around us and determine how God would want us to help from all that He has given us. Second, we are to give not just from our wallet but from our hearts. We are to be generous in spirit: “God loves a cheerful giver” (v. 7). Finally, we are to give as an appropriate and necessary response. God has provided for us “abundantly,” so how can we not give willingly to others? (v. 8).
When we give, God promises that our needs will be met and our storehouse will be resupplied. Paul assures us that gift giving produces tremendous results, “overflowing” in thankfulness to God (v. 12). God’s gift to us is “indescribable”; how can we not be people marked by generosity (v. 15)?
take time to thank God for His blessing in your life. And perhaps consider a special gift you can give to mark the end of this study, a gift that will result not in thankfulness toward yourself but “overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God” (v. 12).