How you decide how and when you give is not easy. There are many demands both on our money and for our money. Here are a few rules of thumb I employ when it comes to giving.
- Practice giving! Giving doesn’t begin when we can afford it. Be careful about falling into the trap of thinking I will give when I am rich. Some of the best givers I know practiced giving when they weren’t wealthy by the standards of the world. 2 Cor 8v7 tells us to get better at giving. I heard of a guy who deliberately keeps cash in his wallet so he can be spontaneous.
- Sometimes giving will look reckless: I am always taken back by the story of the widow’s mite (Mark 12:41-44). If I was advising that lady I would in my natural self say, ‘STOP, SAVE!’. Sometimes God directs us to give in ways that might seem reckless to others, but to him is spot on. Personally, I believe you should be practiced in hearing his voice in these situations, but once you have heard clearly, step out in faith.
- Giving should stretch you. It does us good to be stretched in our giving. C.S. Lewis the famous Christian author said, “I do not believe one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare.”
- Giving should be fun! Study after study has shown that giving is an emotionally rewarding activity which does your soul good. If you are going to give, enjoy the experience knowing that you will be blessed as you give (Acts 20:35).
- We start from a position of wealth. Okay, maybe not physical wealth, but certainly spiritual wealth. 2 Cor 8:9 says, “For you know, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty you might become rich.” I like to remind myself that no matter what state I find myself, I am actually rich. Rich people give, not just of money, but time and of their lives.
I talk more about giving in the ‘Balanced’ series from Catalyst Church. Remember the great exercise to push into this more….
- Calculate how much you give ( and think percentages ).
- Determine a percentage to give in the coming years and change your lifestyle to fit this percentage.