February 05, 2006

Being Hilariously Generous

The Pastor at church tonight made an interesting play on a verse I already thought I knew well, 2 Corinthians 9:7.

“Each one must give as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

I hadn’t really thought about before, but --- he challenged us to “commit to be Hilariously Generous.” He bases this idea off the end of that verse above, in Greek it is:

ἱλαρὸν γὰρ δότην ἀγαπᾷ ὁ θεός

For a cheerful giver, God loves.

The Greek word here for cheerful is ἱλαρὸν or hilaros (obviously the root of our word hilarious.) Paul is saying here that we should be giving out of our gladness to give, not out of guilt.

It’s a bit like Herod, after being pleased by Herodias’s daughter’s dance (Mark 6:21-29) exclaims: “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will give it to you … up to half of my kingdom.” Out of his joy and in a state of cheerfulness he is glad to give. Of course, in this case the request was an ominous one, and his cheerfulness didn’t last for long.


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