What It Means to Be a Cheerful Giver

The Bible teaches us to give; to put others before ourselves and be generous with what we have.

Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which He has given you.
— Deuteronomy 16:17

Not only just to give, but God even takes it to the level of being a cheerful giver.

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
— 2 Corinthians 9:6-7

Giving becomes more difficult than it might seem, though. On one side, it can be hard to let go of our possessions sometimes. Whether it’s money or just stuff, once it’s in our hands, it’s difficult to get rid of. And on the other side, when you do give, it’s hard to not view it as a selfish thing where you just think you’re super awesome. (Which is only partially not true – because you are awesome.) You know what I mean.

I love to give. I love making someone’s day with a simple gesture – but giving becomes harder when money is more valuable.

The other day I had an opportunity that reminded me of how great it is to give to others - even when I might need some help myself.

I was out and about running errands on a Saturday afternoon. I had just arrived at Target and was headed towards the entrance when a lady approached me asking if I knew the area very well. I replied with saying I thought I knew it decently and hoped I could help her out. She then explained to me how she was looking for some type of pawn shop that she could go to and sell some items she had on her. She listed some shoes, a ring of hers, and mentioned that she was just looking to sell whatever she could to get her some cash. Of course, she named the one place I wasn’t very familiar with and I wasn’t able to tell her of any pawn shops I knew of; but she continued with her story. She went on with how her husband had just passed away and that she was headed on a bus from one state to another, to join her husband’s family for his funeral. Along the way her wallet had gotten stolen and she was now unable to purchase the bus ticket to continue her journey.

My heart kept breaking for her as she named a list of multiple things that had gone wrong. I could feel her desperation of just wanting to do whatever it took to make it to her destination. She was doing her best to be humble which is why she wasn’t just asking for people’s money. She kept saying she would sell anything she had on her just to earn the money she needed for the ticket.

I felt bad that I didn’t know of any places she was looking for, and told her I didn’t have any cash on me but if she wanted to wait outside I could probably help her out. She agreed she would stay around outside. I went inside Target asking myself what I could do for this lady, and how I could bless her - with also staying in my slim budget. I didn’t necessarily have the money to spare her, but God was tugging on my heart to give. So, I got cash out for her, purchased her a water and a snack, and walked back outside. Her face lit up with surprise that I even came back out for her. I gave her the money and items I purchased and said, “I want you to know that it doesn’t have to all be bad, and that good things can happen too.” She held back tears and left me with a hug before going on her way.

I left feeling incredible - not because I felt like I was so awesome for helping her out, but in fact, the exact opposite. I felt blessed to even have that opportunity to help someone like her out. To learn a part of her story and encourage her. Out of all the people she could have gone up to and asked, she chose me. Little ole broke college student me, who honestly could have easily said no with my situation.

It’s moments like that that remind me of how special giving is. So many people are hurting out there, and the smallest effort in my day can make a big difference in someone else’s life. I want to live a life of giving and selflessness because I want people to know, even if just for a moment, that they are cared about. I’m a cheerful giver not because I think I’m perfect and have all this money to spare, but because it’s the biggest reward when I have the opportunity to put others before myself.