7 Everyone should give whatever they have decided in their heart. They shouldn’t give with hesitation or because of pressure. God loves a cheerful giver. 8 God has the power to provide you with more than enough of every kind of grace. That way, you will have everything you need always and in everything to provide more than enough for every kind of good work. 9 As it is written, He scattered everywhere; he gave to the needy; his righteousness remains forever. 2 Corinthians 9:7-9, CEB
(We’re in the middle of a series on sacrifice for people in recovery that starts on Day 1. Get caught up or you may feel lost.)
How, do we figure out how to sacrifice thoughtfully?
- Sacrifice is earnest, and stems from a legitimately cheerful or joyful place within us.
The final part of “thoughtful sacrifice” is the hardest part to suggest to someone. In fact, it can’t be suggested. We cannot be instructed to sacrifice, or to give, cheerfully and then simply summon the emotion and follow through on the advice. Life is not so simple or easy as this.
How does it happen? We trust that God does his work to create within us the kind of person that can be faithfully loving and merciful. We ground ourselves in a community that encourages us and points us to God’s vision for life. We create space for God to move and breathe in the life of this community and in our lives individually. And as he goes to work he gives us of the gift of a new self that has the capacity to recognize what we receive from God and and the capacity to cheerfully demonstrate God to others in and through our faithful and sincere sacrifices.
I cannot tell you to simply give cheerfully, just as you cannot tell me to simply give cheerfully. All we can do is try to demonstrate, and point to, the God who has acted so powerfully in the lives of faithful people to draw out of us faithfulness, love, mercy, kindness, and cheerfulness and who leads us to care for others in ways that benefit entire families and communities. When we demonstrate this God well, it does not result in recognition or the stroking of egos but, instead, appears as if God himself has walked among us and given us the tremendous gift of love and mercy.