“Put whichever one you want in the collection plate and keep the other for yourself,” she told the girl.
When they were coming out of church, the mother asked her daughter which amount she had given.
“Well,” said the little girl, “I was going to give the dollar, but just before the collection the man in the pulpit said that we should all be cheerful givers. I knew I’d be a lot more cheerful if I gave the quarter, so I did.”
Sadly, too many folks have developed the misconception of the little girl. They think that true happiness is found in focusing on one’s selfish desires instead of bringing cheer to the lives of others.
The Bible has a great deal to say about being a cheerful person.
(1) Cheerfulness comes from within. It is an attitude. A frame of mind. The choice of one’s mental position. Mary C. Crowley put it this way, “Attitude is the minds paintbrush. It can color a situation gloomy or gray, or cheerful.”
The Greek word for cheerful is hilaros. Dr. Vine defines it as “propitious; He says it “signifies that readiness of mind, that joyousness, which is prompt to do anything; hence, “cheerful” But you don’t have to be a Greek scholar to see the English word “hilarious” is derived from it.
“Be of good cheer” is often spoken by Jesus to those who came to him with problems and challenges This is a different Greek word that means “courage, confidence, comfort and consolation. Jesus can bring cheer to our lives even our circumstances are less than perfect.
(2) Our outward demeanor is affected by our cheerfulness or the lack there of. The wise man wrote, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. (Prov 15:13). The inward attitude of cheerful will improve your face-value!
(3) Our overall health is actually improved by a cheerful attitude. The Bible says “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).
Dr. Lisa R. Yanek, assistant professor in Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s division of General Internal Medicine, says, having a happy disposition can make you healthier because it has an effect on disease. “If you are by nature a cheerful person and look on the bright side of things, you are more likely to be protected from cardiac events.”
(4) Cheerfulness is a hallmark of daily Christian living. James, a book on Christian living says, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms” (Jas. 5:13). We have a song in our hymn books entitled, “Sing and Be Happy.”
The Bible teaches that we are to be cheerful givers. As God prospers us, we should purposely give back to him, not with a begrudging spirit, but a cheerful attitude ( 2 Cor 9:7-8)
The apostle Paul even connects gifts of mercy in Romans 12:8 when he speaks of one showing mercy with cheerfulness.
(5) Our Worship should be filled with a spirit of Cheerfulness. Jeff Walling tells the story of an alien that sees a church building and peeks in and asks “what are they doing in there?” “They are worshiping”, His guide told him.
“Why are they worshiping?”, asked the alien.
“Because they have been saved by the grace of God and they are going to go to heaven and live in paradise with God forever.”
To which the Alien replied, “Do they know that?!”
Jesus taught that God-pleasing worship is not only according to Truth, but is done in the right spirit (John 4:23-24). Worship should be a joyful, happy and cheerful experience.
A cheerful spirit is not a Pollyanna approach to life. But one born of gratitude, wisdom and appreciation. It is an outward expression of inner joy. It will serve you well in meeting life’s challenges. Thomas Carlyle was right, “Wondrous is the strength of cheefulness and its power of endurance.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman