Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor. 9:7)

“I FEEL PEOPLE SHOULD GIVE what they feel is proper,” said the barber as he clipped away on the pastor’s hair. The men in the barbershop didn’t know the man sitting in the chair was a pastor as they continued talking about giving to the church.

When the barber was finished and the pastor rose from his chair, the clergyman reached for his wallet and handed the barber one dollar instead of the usual fee for the haircut.

“You said people should give to the church what they feel is proper,” explained the minister, “so I feel the one dollar is proper for your work.” The pastor waited just a moment for the irony to register. Then he smiled, pulled out the rest of the money, and paid the full price. But the men in the barber shop got the message.

Actually, Paul might have agreed with the barber, although perhaps not with his motivation. Paul said we should give what we have decided to give without reluctance and without feeling compelled to give. Instead, we should give cheerfully.

A person who loves God wants to give—and wants to give generously. Such a giver has learned the joy that comes with giving. So when the opportunity arises, it’s not with reluctance but with cheerfulness that we reach for our wallets or checkbooks and give generously.

Give as much as you can as often as you can, cheerfully.

Ron McClung lives in Fishers, Indiana, with his wife Carol, and works for The Wesleyan Church. They have two sons, nine grandchildren, and two great-granddaughters.