As we wrap up the finance series, I want to end with a topic we haven’t discussed yet, but it is the most important! We have talked about saving money, spending money, but now we are going to share with you about giving money. The way you view giving is the foundation for your finances.
Jimmy and I are really passionate about this topic because we have learned so much on giving in the past couple years. We attended a retreat with Generous Giving a year ago which inspired us and freed us to give more! It’s not because we are making more money (because we are not, haha), but because we strongly believe two truths…
- Everything we have belongs to God. God has given us everything we own. And He can also take it all away whenever He wants. We know that God is a GOOD Father, so we always thank Him for what He has given us! This truth helps us to be open-handed and generous with what God has given us. We know that He gives us more than our needs to bless others!
- Giving to other exemplifies what Jesus has done for us, so our hope is that our giving points people to Jesus. Jesus has filled us with so much love and joy that we want others to know and experience Him too! He DIED for us, so that we could have eternal life. So giving generously to others is out of response of what Jesus has done for us AND a way we can share Jesus with others!
Did you know there are 2,350 bible verses on money? So, obviously this is a really important topic to God (God and Money, Cortines and Baumer). God knows how much power money can have over us; it can control us and break us. But we have learned through experience and the Bible that giving generously breaks the power of money over us (God and Money, Cortines and Baumer).
Here are some questions that are commonly asked and that Jimmy and I asked before we studied giving more in depth:
Why does God ask for my money if he’s God?
God does not need our money. Like I said above, He owns everything in the universe. It’s all under his control. He can give an organization or person as much or as little money as He wants. He doesn’t need us.
He wants us to give because He knows that giving brings us joy and fulfillment. It’s how he created us in His image. He wants us to experience the joy of blessing others just as He has when He blesses us!
How much should I give?
This is a question that Jimmy and I struggled with the most. And we still do at times because it’s not black and white.
10% is a great starting place (this is what God calls for in the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 14:22-26), but it shouldn’t be your ultimate number. We have heard stories of people giving up to 90% of their income! Obviously many of us are not in the position to give that much of our income, but hopefully our mindset will always be, “how much more can I give?”.
Where should I give?
You are ultimately giving to God. So where does He want you to give? Think about the places that are involved in that give you an opportunity to give, so this could be your church. Second would be the other organizations that you care about their mission and are involved in, so other non-profits that you support. Another place could be the people in your life that are living on mission for the God and are supported financially by other people like you. Next would be anyone else in your life that has a need. And then a final place could be your friends and family who you want to love and treat!
What about when my finances are so tight, I don’t have any “extra” to give?
Even when money seems “tight”, we ask God to help us have a generous spirit, again reminding ourselves that He is giving us money through our jobs to provide for our needs and to bless others through us. And when we don’t feel like we have “extra” money to give outside of our needs, we ask God to give us faith to continue to give, knowing that He says He will always provide for us.
Time and time again He has proven this to be true in my life! I have never been without a need fulfilled, so there’s no need for me to worry! Think about how God has always provided for you, especially when you trust Him!
This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible and it’s practical and real for our financial situation!
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?27 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
There are so many opportunities to give at times when we feel like we have money to give or feel like we have no money to give, so a verse that Jimmy and I always think through before we make decisions on when or where to give is Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” So we ask God to help us seek His kingdom first and then guide us on how much and where He wants us to give.