The first year I was at camp, a few of my friends and I went away for the weekend to someone’s cottage (typical occurrence). What wasn’t so typical about this, was basically everything that happened once we got close. I say close, because honestly, this cottage was nicer than my real house. It was like a resort in the middle of Michigan. A girl’s family chose to welcome a bunch of dirty young adults into their quite nice cottage, and they paid for all our food (we didn’t even get to eat like, half of what they bout us). They paid for us to go canoeing down a river the next day, and they wouldn’t accept anything in return.
Furthermore, we left (after thanking them profusely) and went to go eat dinner in town before we went back to camp. They happened to eat at the same restaurant, and when our bills came the mom literally walked over and picked them all up off the table and went and paid for all of us.
I bring this story up because Paul is talking about a cheerful giver. This family’s act of hospitality has stayed with me for a full two years, and it still astounds me. They were cheerful in giving what they had. It wasn’t a necessity that we get a pampered weekend, we could have stayed at camp. They weren’t particularly donating money to help other churches, but their giving showed me the love of Christ, and moved me to glorifying and thanking God for them and his providence. We didn’t need that weekend, but it was really really nice and appreciated. It made the following week that much easier to handle, and we were able to work in the overflow of this family to pour into the lives of other kids.
This is the story I think about when I consider how I can give of my time and resources to help/encourage other people. Sometimes it’s just a little thing, like providing a real bed to sleep on, and sometimes it’s a huge thing, like paying for 10 people’s dinners. In either case, it is the cheerful giving that brings glory to God and points to him as the sustainer of all things.