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. 2 Corinthians 9:7
This verse encourages believers to give with a joyful, willing heart, reflecting a genuine desire to help others and to honor God through their generosity. The 2 Corinthians 9:7 meaning points us to the heart we should have toward giving. Our giving should never be coerced and should always lead to joy.
As a pastor, I believe this is one of the most important verses on generosity for Christians. It encourages us to reflect on what Jesus has done for us and how we should live generously in light of him. And it reveals God’s heart for us, to be joyful.
In this blog post, we are going to dive into this verse and see what it can teach us about living generously.
The Context Of 2 Corinthians 9:7
In order to understand the meaning of 2 Corinthians 9:7 we first need to look at the context.
2 Corinthians is a letter that was written by the Apostle Paul to the church in Corinth. Throughout this letter, Paul addresses the problems this congregation was facing. Really, this church isn’t too different from the Western church today.
In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul is encouraging the Corinthians to follow through on their commitment to give to suffering Christians in Jerusalem. Paul not only encourages them to follow through but also to do so with the right attitude.
Paul is not trying to force this church to give, and he’s not being legalistic in his teaching. We see in 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 he seeks to inspire them to give with a willing and cheerful heart. Giving is an opportunity to participate in the larger story that God is telling. This isn’t something they are forced to do, rather that they get to participate in.
This passage shows the principles of Christian giving, emphasizing it being voluntary, having a positive attitude, and the spiritual significance of generosity. Let’s take a closer look at the meaning of 2 Corinthians 9:7.
The 2 Corinthians 9:7 Meaning
This verse has a lot to teach us that I think is very applicable for the church today. We are facing many of the same issues, including that of generosity. The 2 Corinthians 9:7 meaning provides Christians with biblical principles about giving so that the needs of other believers can be met.
Each Of You Should Give What You Have Decided In Your Heart To Give
While many churches teach that Christians should tithe, give 10% to the church, the New Testament never says that. And really that’s not exactly what the Old Testament says either (more on that here: Tithing). What Christians should do when it comes to giving is make a thoughtful and prayerful decision to be generous towards others.
Throughout the New Testament we are called to be generous because God has been generous with us. But what that generosity looks like will vary from person to person. For some that might be 3% of their income, for others 50%, and maybe even for some 90%.
The point that Paul is making in 2 Corinthians 9:7 is that each of us should look at our heart and decide how much to give. And then, actually, give that amount.
Not Reluctantly Or Under Compulsion
2 Corinthians 9:7 emphasizes that our generosity should ALWAYS be a voluntary act. That means if you are pressured, coerced, or shamed into giving it’s not from God. And if you ever feel that way don’t give in that moment. Go home and take it before God. Allow him to evaluate your heart and prayerfully consider how much you should give and to where.
Paul shows us that God desires that our generosity always be voluntary. Our generosity is to be a gift and blessing to others, but it can only be a gift when we are not obligated to give. The focus here is on personal choice and conviction rather than external pressure or obligation.
For God Loves A Cheerful Giver
2 Corinthians 9:7 reminds us of the heart we should have when we give. Sadly, many churches and pastors try to guilt their congregation into giving. But that’s not what the Bible teaches. We should never give because we feel forced; we should give because we want to. And that should lead to cheerful giving.
Our generosity should be for the benefit of others and lead to joy for ourselves. This is a crucial part of the verse; our giving should lead to joy in our lives. This means that even though we give for the benefit of others, we get something in return.
A cheerful giver reveals that their heart is aligned with his. God loves a cheerful giver because he is a cheerful giver. And when we find joy in giving it shows that we are becoming more like him.
How 2 Corinthians 9:7 Applies To Your Life
This verse encourages Christians to give voluntarily, joyfully, and purposefully. The 2 Corinthians 9:7 meaning shows us that how one gives is just as important as the act of giving itself. The verse emphasizes a positive and intentional approach to stewardship and generosity within the Christian community.
Let’s end by looking at two ways we can apply this to our lives.
1. Practice Voluntary Generosity
Because of what Jesus has done for us, we should live and give generously. This isn’t to earn anything, but rather in response to what we have received.
I can’t tell you what generosity looks like in your life. What I would say is get alone with God and prayerfully consider what you should give. Ask yourself, How can I be generous with what God has given me?
Jesus isn’t looking for a certain amount from you, he’s looking for you to give generously. For the widow that was a few pennies. For others that might be 50%+ of their income. Search in your heart and decide what giving generously should look like in your life.
2. Give Joyfully
Giving should lead to joy. This is the heart that we should cultivate through our generosity. We should give joyfully because we know that we are doing so for the benefit of others.
If you don’t find yourself joyful when you give, you should search your heart to see what is causing that. Is it because you feel coerced into giving? Or maybe your heart is tied more to money than God. God’s desire for you is to find joy in giving. Go to him and ask him to align your heart to his and help you find joy in being generous.
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