2 Corinthians 9:6-12 (NRSV)

6 The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 9 As it is written, “He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.   11 You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12 for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God.    

2 Corinthians 9:7 (NRSV)

7 Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.   

DEVOTION – Kathleen Hoover (California)

Excited to have a free hour to relax, I settled into my favorite chair with all my quilting supplies within reach.  A few minutes later the doorbell rang.  Grudgingly, I headed for the door, followed by my nine-year-old daughter, Emily.  In the cold, soft rain stood a man with no coat or umbrella, holding a clipboard.  After greeting us, he went on to explain that he was collecting money for a mission program.  Preoccupied by my desire to return to my project, I responded with a polite but short, “I’m sorry, but I can’t help you today” and slowly closed the door.

Emily asked, “Why”  Why did we give nothing?  He came out in the cold and rain to collect for the poor.”  Instantly, my heart sank.  The honest answer was that my self-centeredness had caused me to miss this opportunity to help someone, as well as the chance to teach my daughter about how God loves a cheerful giver.

A short time later, Emily handed me a drawing titled, “The Man Who Was Willing.”  She had expressed on paper what was in her heart.  On this day, my young daughter was the teacher.  Her childhood artwork remains both a treasured keepsake and a valuable lesson.  Fifteen years later, Emily still draws when her heart is profoundly touched, and I strive not to miss any opportunity God gives me to be a cheerful giver.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: In spite of our mistakes, God gives second chances.

PRAYER: Dear God, help us to be generous and truly willing to help others in need.  Amen.