“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7, KJV)
If you walked down the street and saw someone throwing hundred-dollar bills away and laughing hysterically you would probably conclude that the person had “bats in the belfry.” Moreover, you probably would be correct. It would seem irrational behavior. If someone would be giving the money for a good cause, one’s laughter would also sound an alarm that something was not right. Yet the Scripture states that “God loveth a cheerful giver.”
The word translated “cheerful,” hilaros, is the word from which we get the English word hilarious. God loves it when His people give with extreme joy. This should be the attitude born in the heart of the one giving.
At one time, I worked with the Gideons International. I would go to churches and present the ministry to congregations to raise funds for placing Bibles in hotel rooms, at schools, at hospitals and other various locations. At the time, the former Soviet Union opened the door for us to place Bibles in that country. The need was great. As I completed my presentation, I would explain that I was going to stand at the rear of the church to receive what they could give to help get the word of God out into the hands of people worldwide. I would usually get a fair offering.
After studying this passage, the Lord put it on my heart to try a different approach. Instead, I would tell people something like this.
“You have an opportunity to help today. Just give as God has purposed in your heart for God loves a cheerful giver. If you will give as God has purposed in you heart, we will have everything we need to get the word of God into the hands of people around the world.”
What happened was amazing. The per-person offerings basically doubled. As people did what they believed God would have them do they became more generous. They were not to give grudgingly or under human compulsion but with the freedom to seek the will of God and serve Him.
God wants all believers to experience great joy in giving, hilarious giving. By seeking His will in the matter and being obedient they will experience greater joy.