A Recipe for Overcoming Misery
What is the recipe for overcoming misery? The late Reverend Ed Chandler used to teach that the root word for miserable is “miser.” A miser, according to Webster, is one who will live in discomfort in order to accumulate wealth. This attitude over time can make a person miserable. The remedy for this, of course, is being generous instead of miserly and joyous instead of miserable.
A life-long miser is constantly uptight and misses the joy of letting go. When we let go, we come into a giving posture. Joy comes when we give to the Lord. Our highest motivation in giving is two-fold. First, we give to the Lord to glorify Him. Second, we give in response to our gratitude for all His blessings. When we are motivated to give first to the Lord out of gratitude, we will reap joy and not misery. The Scripture inspires us to be motivated to give out of our worship and love of the Lord.
(Psalm 24:1) We cannot out-give God. Everything we have already belongs to Him. The Psalmist says “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” Just think of how absurd it would be to offer God what already belongs to Him. Yet, God chooses to make us stewards of all in the world.
(Malachi 3:10) A tithe (10 percent of our income) is the most measurable standard of giving to God in the Bible. The tithe honors God first with the first ten percent of what we have. Most tithers I have known speak of this as a blessing that positively impacts every area of their lives as well as a needed spiritual discipline. “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room for it.’”
(2 Samuel 24:24) The willingness to make sacrifices helps us grow. When we sacrifice, we are able to worship more fully. King David said “I will not sacrifice that to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”
(Matthew 6:21) The amount is not as important as the heart. If we have very little, we can still be commended by God. The widow who gave the mite was commended by Jesus for she gave all she had, as condescending onlookers gave out of their abundance. Jesus also said “where your treasure is, there is your heart also.” Our heart is the focus when we give treasures in Heaven.
(2 Corinthians 9:6) A spirit of generosity is also commended in the Scripture “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”
(2 Corinthians 9:7) God loves a cheerful giver. Joy is the right spirit in which to give. “Each of you should give what you have decided to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Thank you for giving to the Lord through Shalimar United Methodist Church! Our generosity makes a difference. Generosity leads to an atmosphere of joy and away from misery. May this joy abound in our congregation!