The following post was written by Brian Molohon, Senior Director of Development at Northwestern.
Webster defines hilarious as being marked by or providing boisterous merriment. Hilarity is something more than just a causal chuckle at a friend’s joke or the contrived sound of the laughter when the studio technician holds up the “laugh now” sign during a TV sitcom taping. Hilarity is something much deeper and I would argue deeply personal and Spiritual.
A belly busting laugh that makes you cry as you struggle to catch your breath is something truly special. It is a deep connection with the core of who you are and what you believe. The tears of joy and the rolling on the floor laughter can only come when you connect with something so deep and defining within you that then in turn reflects who God made you to be.
The scene from the movie Sandlot where Squints (awkward pre-teen boy) pretends to drown just to get rescued by the lifeguard (very cute mid-teen girl) always makes me laugh till I cry. Yes, the scene is funny for some wonderful cinematic reasons, but much deeper than that is how the scene connects with my own awkward teenage years, my own first crushes and simply my own life’s journey.
2 Corinthians 9:7 states, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” It is sad that for many Christians, giving of our financial treasure is anything but cheerful and joyful; yet, this is what God calls us to. Why is our relationship to money so challenging and stressful – I would offer one reason for you to consider.
One – We have not relinquished ownership (even though it wasn’t ours to begin with) of our financial resources. Here is the bottom line question: Do you REALLY trust Jesus and His word? If we have a hard time giving; I would suggest it is because of fear and that we have not fully tasted the freedom that comes from a life fully submitted to Jesus Christ. God’s word is clear, He will provide for His children, He knows best what we need, He loves us more than we can comprehend AND He is completely trustworthy. There is no negotiation on these points – either you believe it or you don’t! So, if you believe it – then begin today to live it!
I know this can be scary uncharted territory for many of us, so, let me offer some practical ways to begin to practice a life of joyful and hilarious giving.
- Be in God’s word every day. Read it, pray it and obey it. Submit all of your blessings back to God every day. Ask for the Spirits leading in all of your giving.
- Practice spontaneous philanthropy, i.e. take a twenty dollar bill and ask God to bring you somebody during your day who needs it more than you (He will set a divine appointment for you if you ask). Give the person the money with no strings attached; listen to their story and pray with them.
- Don’t let your lifestyle rise with your income. If you get a raise, give away more. Make a legitimate sacrifice for another person.
- Make your giving personal. Get involved in church and ministries. Volunteer your time with giving your money. Be truly present to people and their stories.
There are certainly more things that you can do to start to become a hilariously joyful giver. A lack of joy in giving is truly no laughing matter; however, you can start practicing today. Surrender it all to Him and you will begin to experience the deep hilariously joyful feeling of what it means to be a cheerful giver.