It’s not that I have to be there, it’s that I get to be there

This past weekend sitting in church we opened our Bibles to continue our series in 2 Corinthians. The sermon was titled “Why Give?” We sat and listened as Pastor Paul began to unpack Romans 9:6-15 for us. As we have studied 2 Corinthians 8 & 9 these past several weeks words like “giving”, “generosity”, “sacrifice”, and “gifts” have been sprinkled throughout the teachings. I, for one, have appreciated sitting, soaking, and considering these Biblical truths about giving.

There were several impactful points made through the study of these scriptures and I was challenged in many ways. How I spend my time, what I’m doing with the gifts the Lord has given to me, and how am I impacting others were some of the subjects I began to ponder. I’m so grateful that Pastor Paul asked us to consider these different areas in addition to our finances.

As we arrived at 2 Corinthians 9:7 my ears perked up and I hurriedly scribbled notes trying to capture the spiritual insight he was sharing as my heart and soul connected with these words…

“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.”

It was the words that followed this verse that really garnered my attention. As I mentioned before, we were asked to examine the many areas of our giving. Pastor Paul said, “As we are giving of our gifts there is a difference between I have to and I want to…”

You know the first thought that came to my mind? My kids. What do they hear as I’m on the phone or visiting with a friend? Lately it’s been statements like these…

“Having three boys on three different baseball teams means that I have three sets of practices to juggle! Ugh.”

“It’s session and last weekend Andy had to work in addition to almost every week night. I’m really tired.”

“We are so behind on our school work.  I’m not sure we have time for spring break.”

I then thought about some of the ways I speak to my kids.

“You have legos in your room, a game out in your brother’s room and toys in the loft. You boys need to pick up before doing anything else.”

“I’ll play dolls with you Ellis but first I need to finish this, and then I have to finish that,”…and before you know it I’ve run out of time to play.

Instead of using these negative tones, what if I slightly altered the words to reflect an uplifting message as I shared with friends about our life…

“This is the first year Davis gets to play baseball so that means we get three different teams to cheer for!”

“This has been a very demanding session for Andy, but I am so grateful that he works so hard for our family.”

“We may be a little behind in school, but I can’t wait to have some fun on Spring Break!”

And what if I said to my kids,

“Boys, you have a lot of toys and games out. Why don’t you pick them up and let’s choose one of them to play together.”

“Ellis I’d love to play dolls with you.  These other things can wait.”

I want to be a cheerful giver of my time. I never want my kids to believe that I have to be with them. Instead, I want them to have the certainty that I want to be with them. They will know this through my words, but more importantly through my actions.

I desire for my negative words to become positive. My kids desire to connect, they yearn for an invitation to spend time together, and they look for uninterrupted moments to share heart to heart. I long to enjoy the intertwined life we’ve been granted. I know what’s in my heart, but do they?

Today’s verse of being a cheerful giver made me consider what these words really mean. Does it matter if I go through the motions but show no love? Does it count if I complete my tasks but have no joy in the giving? Do I give what I have freely or grudgingly? Am I cheerful? If I’m not, what can I do?

Go before the Lord! That’s what Pastor Paul encouraged. That was the reminder I needed to commit these and other areas to prayer.

Why do I so often forget to lay it at the Lord’s feet. I am constantly taking troubles into my own hands and trying to find the best solution in my own strength, when what I really need to do is pray.

I walked out of church with purpose. I want my kids to know that I want to be with them. I will be placing this desire of being a cheerful giver before the Lord.

Do you desire to be a cheerful giver of your time? Maybe you can relate to where I am in my life, spending your days with your kids, knowing it’s a gift, but not feeling joy in the journey. It may be that time with your spouse seems to be consumed with discussions about bills, kids, or work, with little time for fun. Serving others may have become an obligation instead of a blessing.

Whatever your challenge may be, I hope you will consider joining me as I let those around me know that… I want to be, I don’t have to be….


To listen to this impactful sermon in it’s entirety click on the link below.

“Why Give?”

*Just a note: As I listened back to this teaching I realized that it was recorded during a different service than the one I attended. The words “I have to” and “I get to” were not specifically mentioned as they were not one of the main points. I am so grateful that what may have been a minor note, made just a major impact on my life. 


2 thoughts on “It’s not that I have to be there, it’s that I get to be there

  1. Hi Kristen! I was excited to find your lovely writing here – thanks for connecting with me on compel! I would love to put a link this article on my Saturday Shares in the near future. I so appreciate the perspective of giving time cheerfully, I’ve never thought of that verse outside of the context of money.


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