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2 Corinthians 8:12 – For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have.
One of the most fundamental requirements of giving that pleases God is that we must have a “willing mind.”
This same word is used to describe the Bereans’ attitude in studying the word of God.
Acts 17:11 – These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness [a willing mind], and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.
The word used here means “exceptional interest in being of service, willingness, readiness, goodwill” – Bauer-Danker-Arndt-Gingrich. They searched “with all readiness”: a willing mind.
1 Timothy 6:18 – Those who are rich are taught to do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share (using different Greek words).
God wants service that is done willingly, not resentfully or grudgingly, as though we really wish we could do something else instead. This is important in our study of God’s word so that we have a receptive heart truly wanting to know God’s will. And this attitude is just as important in our giving, because it would be so easy for us to wish that we could do something else with our money to please ourselves. Instead, we should give with a desire to be of service.
Denominations are known for arm-twisting, and many people resent it: rightfully so.
Denominations often pressure people to give. They may pass the basket repeatedly. They may require pledge cards. I have observed church meetings in which people were told to hold up their hands if they would commit themselves to give a certain amount. And those who would commit themselves to give more should hold up their hands, etc. A public display was made to pressure people for commitments.
The most extreme example I ever heard was a couple who told me they attended a church that asked them to sign a pledge card. But the couple failed to read the fine print which said that they were signing a legally binding contract. When they later changed their mind and decided not to give that much, the church actually sued them in court! Such methods hardly have the effect of encouraging a willing mind.
The church ought to encourage an attitude of giving willingly because we love God, we appreciate the work of the church, and we sincerely want to support that work. People who give grudgingly are not pleasing the Lord anyway.
So let us all determine to give with a willing mind, and let us encourage one another to truly desire to support and encourage the work that God has given.
(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 2019
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Scripture quotations are generally from the New King James Version (NKJV), copyright 1982, 1988 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. used by permission. All rights reserved.