God, Giving and You: Growing a Generous Heart

Have you ever written a check for $40,000?

Years ago, I had some missionary friends who were looking to buy a home in the country where they served. Homes were much cheaper in that part of the world than they are here, and this couple found a property that they thought would be really useful… for $40,000. They didn’t have the cash to buy it, but one of their American supporters did. So he wrote them a $40,000 check.

I saw the check with my own eyes, and — at the time — the amount of money that it represented astounded me. I was amazed that anyone had that kind of money to spare… and that they would choose to use it to buy a house for someone else. I was also inspired, and decided that I wanted to be able to write checks like that someday too.

The  supporter who wrote that check was walking out the third step in God’s Master Plan for our money: Generous giving. God gives us everything we have, and He has specific things that He wants us to do with the resources that He has entrusted to us. We’ve already discussed the importance of the first two steps, working to support our families and tithing to support the church. But it’s in this third step where things really start to get fun.

If you’ve managed your money well, you’ll probably have some funds left over each month after you’ve tithed and taken care of your household expenses. It can feel great to have an overflow like this, and you can probably think of a list of five things that you’d like to do with that extra money. But the first thing that God wants you to do out of that abundance is to give — give to ministries, give to people in need, give whenever we have a chance to be a blessing. II Corinthians 9:6-12 paints a great picture of this:

6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 9 As it is written:

“They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor;
their righteousness endures forever.”

10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.

There’s a lot that we can learn from this passage, and we’ll dive into the details in coming articles. For now though, understand this — God wants us to give, and it’s our privilege to do so. Because when we give generously, we’re not only meeting the needs of people, but we’re also creating an overflow of expressions of thanks to God.

In our broken, hurting world, there is so much work to be done to feed people, heal people and share the Gospel. Thousands of great organizations around the world take on this mission every day, but they need our help. When we give to support these people, we come alongside them in the great work of the Kingdom, and become partners with them — and with God — in His work on earth.

The generous givers who wrote the $40,000 check made an impact on the Kingdom. And even though I can’t write a check with that many zeros yet, I’m excited to give what I can to the ministries that are close to my heart. I believe that if I’m faithful to give what I can now, God will increase my ability to give later. He is growing inside me a generous heart.

Photo via Flickr, by user Mr. Kris. Used under Creative Commons License.

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Comments

  1. I grew up being told there are two types of people: givers and takers. I decided to join the givers. I have found great blessings in my life because of this. In particular, I love to give to missionaries.

    Wise words in this post. Thanks for your thoughts.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Giving generously is a key component in God’s Master Plan for our financial lives. God wants us to give in order to bless people around us, and to help advance the work of His kingdom on the earth. There are lots of great causes out there that need our help, and our love for people should motivate us to give what we can to support them. [...]

  2. [...] and tithing to support our local churches. In addition to that, though, God wants us to be big givers, helping to take care of the poor and bless people around [...]

  3. [...] and giving plays a big role in it. In addition to tithing to our local churches, God wants us to give abundantly to those in need, and to ministries and organizations that advance the work of His Kingdom on [...]

  4. [...] with the things that He has given us. That means working hard, budgeting well, tithing faithfully, giving generously and saving [...]

  5. [...] — God wants us to provide for our families, tithe faithfully to our local churches, and give generously to help the poor and build the Kingdom. But the fourth aspect is just as important: God wants you [...]

  6. [...] inhibit us from investing to grow our wealth. They certainly inhibit us from tithing and giving to support causes that make a difference in the [...]

  7. [...] – One of God’s chief aims for our financial lives is to see us give out of our abundance to build the kingdom and care for the poor. Our heirs should have the same generous hearts that we [...]

  8. [...] have enough to build an emergency fund, to save money for their next car purchases or to be generous givers. Often, this leads to a lifetime of bondage to consumer [...]

  9. [...] some of the money for themselves. The church at that time was living in an incredible spirit of generosity, freely giving of their possessions to meet each other’s needs. Greed, though, is the [...]

  10. [...] it won’t provide enough income for you to live comfortably, and certainly not enough to give generously and provide an inheritance for future generations. In order to do those things, you need a solid [...]

  11. [...] amounts of money in interest and penalties. Carrying debt loads keeps us from saving, investing, giving and enjoying the money that we earn to our full [...]

  12. [...] can rob you of your true purpose. When we have financial abundance, we can do a lot of good with a generous heart and wise giving. But as wonderful as those things are, there’s a deceitful side of wealth [...]

  13. [...] to give generously to fund that work. Our tithes provide the funding that makes church happen, and our generous giving is what allows missionaries to take the gospel to all corners of the earth. If we fail to do our [...]

  14. [...] A proper attitude toward tithing comes from thankfulness, and a thankful heart will soon become a generous heart as [...]

  15. [...] is certainly rewarding. At one end lies a bitter life of slavery; at the other end waits a kind and generous heart. Let Scrooge’s life be a lesson to you: The only way out of greed slavery is to start [...]

  16. [...] on the importance of generosity. We’ve studied his teachings in II Cor. 9:6-11 a couple of different times, and the lessons are clear: God intends for us to give generously to meet the needs of [...]

  17. [...] Now, to all those of you who don’t have the spiritual gift of generosity: You may be secretly breathing a sigh of relief. In the back of your mind, perhaps you’re thinking that you’re off the hook for giving, because the generosity-gifted people will take care of it for you. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s not true at all. Even though you may not be gifted with extraordinary generosity, you are still called to give. [...]

  18. [...] that God has called us to. Far too many Christians find themselves unable to do things like tithe, give or build an inheritance for future generations because of the financial habits that they have built [...]

  19. [...] is one of the most important things that we’re called to do in life. Generosity is part of God’s Master Plan for your finances, and it is a hallmark of God’s people. [...]

  20. [...] Master Plan for your money — God wants us to tithe faithfully to our churches and to give generously to people in need around us. There are rewards attached to these actions, both a spiritual reward [...]

  21. [...] is. In fact, He instructs us to give to those in need, and repeats that message over and over and over. Giving empowers people in poverty without attaching any shackles around their necks. It [...]

  22. [...] is always important: It’s one of the foundational principles in God’s Master Plan for your finances, and scripture emphasizes the importance of giving in [...]

  23. [...] I realized that it’s more than a good thing: It’s a command from God, and one of the fundamental components of His Master Plan for our money. And if we’re practicing it correctly, giving isn’t [...]

  24. […] is one of the best and most fulfilling things that we can do with our money, and I believe that it should be part of […]

  25. […] is one of the most important things that we can do with our money. And if you’re in a place where you can afford to give only a […]

  26. […] how to use that money, and those instructions include tithing to support our local churches and giving generously to help care for the poor around us. After providing for our families’ basic needs, these are […]

  27. […] dictate how they spend their money. They fight the commandment to tithe, forget the teachings about giving to the poor, and generally ignore the rest of the Bible’s instructions about money. And they do it from […]

  28. […] handle the finances that He has entrusted us with. And one of the key pillars of that plan is giving generously. Because our giving is God’s principle plan for caring for the world’s […]

  29. […] our own. In the end, it all belongs to God, and one of the things that He wants us to do is to give that money to help people in need. If you’re financially lazy, though, you’re probably not giving […]

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