Years ago I remember sitting in a pew at church hearing the preacher proclaim, "God wants us to be hilarious givers." That threw me for a loop. I understood the idea of putting part of my allowance into the offering plate at church, but didn't think about my attitude while giving. The thought of humor associated with giving was downright odd. I wasn't a particularly funny kid. My brother was the one that made everyone laugh. This word and mysterious message stayed with me for years.
One time in the days before internet, I went to the library to do a word search on "hilarious." I didn't know if that was even in the Bible. I thought it might be part of a special translation. As I worked out the meaning of the word, I happened upon 2 Corinthians 9:6-8.
"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work."
And there it was. "God loves a cheerful giver." I had no idea that a positive attitude was just as important as the money being given. What is the heart behind the action? Some tell everyone around them how difficult times are financially. Others may grumble as they give their money, going so far as to utter complaints about the expectations of the church. Is anyone overjoyed to voluntarily give their hard-earned money to the church?
One illustration of the impact cheerful giving can provide the children of God is in 1 Chronicles 29:9.
"Then the people rejoiced because they had given willingly, for with a whole heart they had offered freely to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly."
Years ago, when I had just started teaching at a local university, I approached a friend who had experience in teaching, asking, “What do I need to know to be a great teacher for my students?” After a few moments he responded, “Don’t just prepare your students to be successful for the next five years. Train your students to be successful for the next 30 years.”
For 23 years I have followed that advice. In that time, I have been able to work with students who have become groundbreaking scientists, nuclear engineers, Navy corpsmen, missionaries, nurses, and artists. It has been a joy to train and walk through life with some of these students.
The friend I approached is now the director of CultureBound—Dr. Mark Hedinger. At CultureBound we are focused on training cross-cultural workers to have successful ministry experiences, exceptional careers as professors, pastors, and missionaries. We are preparing people to do the ministry for today and 30 years from now. We are making a 30-year investment in our clients.
We would love for you to come alongside CultureBound as a supporter and to make an investment in CultureBound. An investment in CultureBound will have profound impact in a ministry that will last. We’d also love to hear what God is teaching you through the ministry of CultureBound. If you are an alum, we would love to hear your stories of how CultureBound training has impacted your ministry.
In this holiday season where giving is more enjoyable and prevalent, we encourage you to give to CultureBound. CultureBound seeks to increase the effectiveness of Gospel ministry by facilitating intercultural understanding. We have made connections and trained people all over the world. When you give to CultureBound, you give to the global church.
We are in the middle of our end-of-year campaign. We have met our match goal, but we still have a ways to go. Will you consider giving to this campaign? Will you prayer about becoming a monthly donor? If you'd like to give to this campaign, click here. If you'd like to become a monthly donor, click here. We thank you for your partnership with CultureBound!