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. 2 Corinthians 9:7
“Giving prompts — whether the direct kind or the more subtle whispers — are like snowflakes. No two are exactly alike. Not everyone experiences them in the same way.
I once experienced a heart prompt while listening to a man share his story about giving. Meanwhile, a friend who heard the same testimony found it to be offensive. His heart was not prompted at all.
On another occasion, I was listening to a giving message at a banquet. The message did nothing for me, but it generated heart prompts for other people seated at my table. Sometimes heart prompts strike us uniquely at different times.
Have you ever read a familiar Scripture passage, but this time the words jumped off the page in ways they had not done before? The command may not have been new to you. But this time it penetrated your heart different, calling for obedience and action.
Or maybe you see a needy person on the street differently than how you’ve seen the needy in the past. It might even be the same person you’ve seen before, but for some reason this time you feel something different inside.
God initiates heart prompts to draw you near to Him. He knows what a particular giving opportunity will do for you and what it can do for Him too. When you notice a prompt in your heart, you should take it personally because it is personal.”
Jeff Anderson in Plastic Donuts: Giving That Delights the Heart of the Father (Colorado Springs: Multnomah; 2013) 56-58. I love to direct my students to this book. It’s a must-read generosity resource if you have not already read it.
When God gives us a heart prompt, it’s a personal invitation to be His hands and feet. He’s resourced and released us to distribute joyfully His material and spiritual blessings, whatever they may be.
The paradox of Christian generosity is this: when we respond, we don’t end up empty, but rather, God enriches us for greater generosity (Proverbs 11:24-25). That’s life in the abundant kingdom!
The converse is strikingly true: if we don’t respond, we miss out. God will nudge someone else because His purposes are never thwarted. His plans cannot be hindered. Who knows if or when He will ring non-responsive persons again?
Perhaps you are on your knees right now, asking God to meet a need you may have. Or maybe it’s a need for someone else. I remind my students that sometimes we must wait patiently because those God is prompting are not responding.
God loves it when we are responsive rather than reluctant. When we give cheerfully but not when pressured by compulsion. As my weeklong course at Asian Theological Seminary wraps up, this is one of my last words of advice to my students, so I share it also with you.
Be ready, attuned and attentive to the still small voice of God. As He prompts you, live, give, serve, and love like Jesus. The rest you will only figure out as you live it out, because generosity is a fruit of God working in you.