What do you think of when you hear a reference to God loving a joyful giver? Do you think about money? I know that is my first thought. (And in the context of the verse, 2 Corinthians 9:7, you and I are right to think that.) But giving joyfully is something that pleases God in many contexts. (Proverbs 19:17, Hebrews 13:16, Matthew 5:40; 25:35-40, James 2:15-16, and Ephesians 4:28.) These verses are just a few among many that tell us that God is pleased when we share. There are many, many more in the Old Testament, specifically laws God set up for the welfare of the fatherless and the foreigner, and there are many more in the New Testament. I will go into personal and specific examples here:
- Your Time- (Proverbs 23:6-7) I have previously written at length on this verse and how it taught me to pay attention when a friend’s heart is not with me; that is to say, when they don’t have time for me. Sharing your time with someone may mean just being there for them with a shoulder to cry on or ears to listen. Listening can do wonders. (Proverbs 18:13)
- Home and Family- (Psalm 113:9; 68:6) This one is pretty personal for me. I have no kids, so I love, love, love when my friends let me spend time in their homes, playing with their kids. I do the best I can to incorporate my single friends into family life with my husband and our dog. This is especially meaningful to widows and orphans. (James 1:27) I work with students at church, most of whom are temporarily orphaned in a way while they are away from home studying for a degree. I can’t tell you how much these kids appreciate the small comforts of a home, a place to come and do laundry, a quiet place to study, a dog to pet; a place at the table.
- Friendliness- (Matthew 5:47) It seems that no one says, “Hi.” anymore. Most of my neighbors drive into their garages, enter their homes from the garage door, and never interact with anyone. One of my neighbors has a porch covered in dirt and cobwebs because she never uses it. I was pleasantly surprised to hear a friendly “Hello,” from a stranger yesterday. That has become so rare that I noted the aisle number! A friendly greeting can make someone’s day.
- Laughter- (Proverbs 17:22) This is one of my favorites, because I love to laugh and make others laugh. There is just so much bad news in the world! There is so much sin and pain and sometimes we need to be reminded that our God is good and He’s given us all good things. We can and should share our laughter and cheerful faces with others.
- Encouragement to Seek the Things Above- (Colossians 3:1) This world is full of so much . . . STUFF. It can be overwhelming, and it can be hard to avoid getting tangled up in it. (Hebrews 12:1) We need to let the things of this world grow dim in the light of God’s glorious face. We need to remind each other to seek our satisfaction in Him.
- Praise and Appreciation- (Proverbs 27:2, Hebrews 13:7) Show your appreciation for special people in your life; thank them.
- Be a Conduit, Not a Cul-de-sac. (Titus 2:3-4) Share what you’ve learned. It is just as important to pass knowledge on to others as it is to gain it. Do both.