How, Not How Much

Anokina Shahbaz, Volunteer Writer, Huntley | February 29, 2024

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 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: 6–8

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. 
Psalms 139: 23–24


To give, or not to give? That is the question. Not exactly the words Hamlet spoke in Shakespeare’s play, but they are powerful nonetheless. For some people, it’s not even a question—generosity is just habitual and a part of their nature. For the rest of us, we ask this whenever we are presented with an opportunity to make an offering, whether at church or filling out the tip section of the dinner bill at a restaurant. And if we give, it can often be with a reluctant heart. So how can we all learn to “sow generously” and become “cheerful givers”? 

Maybe it starts with being honest with ourselves and with God. Is our reluctance masking something we’re afraid of? Is it veiling a sinful trait or habit that is distancing us from the kingdom work God would have us do? By shining a light on our tendency to sow sparingly, we begin to understand it and can then choose to invite God to change it. As God works in us to replace our reluctance with eagerness, we will find ourselves gradually desiring to increase our generosity.  

But God also designed giving to come in many shapes and forms—currency is just one of them. If we can find the places in our lives where giving comes easy, we will be able to give joyfully with sincere intentions. Whether that’s giving of our time by volunteering, giving of our skills by teaching, or something else, we each are uniquely positioned to demonstrate God’s love to others and partake in His plan to redeem the world.

Whether giving feels like a duty or comes naturally, Paul in these verses, reminds us that each of us should give what we have decided in our heart to give. The idea here is about how we give, not how much. When it comes to this topic, God is ultimately interested in our motives. 

Next Steps

  • If you find yourself in the not-so-cheerful giver camp, spend some time in prayer and ask God to reveal to you what is causing your reluctance and what to do about it. 
  • Make a list of three ways you could joyously give this coming month that utilize your unique gifts.