Courtesy of “Men of Integrity”
Strategic givers plan ahead so they can be really generous. They’re intentional. They think it through. Strategic givers actually contemplate questions like these: “How can we be more generous? How can we maximize the blessings we have so we can be a blessing to others?”
Strategic givers tithe. They acknowledge that the first part of everything they make belongs to God and that they’re only returning to him (through his church and his work) what’s already his, out of obedience and love.
Many families, including my own, commit to such a strategic approach of giving and tithing. Amy and I schedule a monthly meeting to review; “Where are we giving? Are we seeing impact? How much do we have left to give? How much more do we need to give going forward?” This kind of intentionality has blessed us – and been used by God to bless others, we simply react to our emotions or the need under our noses. The strategic giver realizes: giving is not something we do; generous is who we are. True to God’s promise, when we commit to giving consistently, we grow closer to him and see his purposes with new eyes.
Sacrificial givers don’t just believe that the things of this world don’t matter; they live that way. More than simply acknowledging with their words that material things aren’t what it’s about, they actually see possessions as merely tools that God provides for us to advance his kingdom on earth.
Sacrificial giving doesn’t mean you toss everything to the wind and have nothing. In fact, many sacrificial givers are quite wealthy-they just don’t live like it’s their goal. They have so much, and know they’re merely God’s stewards of it, that they delight in sharing it. They love and trust God so much that they have no problem with letting go of what he’s temporarily given them to take care of.
When you hear people say, “I don’t really have enough to give,” what they’re actually saying is that they don’t feel like they have enough extra, enough left over, that they can give without adjusting their lifestyle. However, the truth is that you always have something you can give. And the less you have, the more your sacrifice means. Jesus observed the widow who gave all she had as an offering at the temple and considered it so amazing that he shared its significance with his disciples.
Ready, Get Set…
If you haven’t been giving at all, then start. Give spontaneously. See a need you can meet and meet it.
But don’t stop there. Start saving. Start cutting back so you’ll have more that you can give. Watch for opportunities. Plan, pray and start giving strategically.
But don’t stop there. Be willing to feel it. Study your finances. Study your lifestyle. Figure out how to live on less. And less. And less. And give more. And more. And more.
I want to be 100 percent clear here. I’m not trying to talk you into giving as much of your money to your church as you possible can. Frankly, that would be really lazy of you. In fact, don’t do that. Give 10 percent -at a minimum -to your local church. Support it. As you gradually increase that percentage over time, look beyond your local church for other places that you can help grow: meaningful ministries; opportunities in your neighborhood, in your kids’ school; causes you feel passionately about that can advance God’s kingdom.
Leverage the resources you have to change eternity. Do whatever you have to do to make your eyes generous. God will bless you, and you can be a blessing.
There’s a reciprocal relationship between giving what we have and receiving God’s blessing. When you give, you will be blessed. When you give, it will be given back to you.
I’m not suggesting that when you give a hundred dollars somewhere, you’re going to get back a hundred dollars (or more) somewhere else. We’re promised blessing if we give generously, not payback. Not all the blessings of God have to do with money; instead, they may be riches of the Spirit (peace, joy,patience) or gifts that money can’t buy you’re generous, you will be blessed, whether it comes to you materially, spiritually, emotionally, relationally, or some other way.
God obviously cares much more about what happens in our hearts than what happens in our bank accounts, more about our attitudes than our credit scores. Giving generously changes you. It frees you up, undermines the power that money and possessions can have over you, and it makes you more like him.
Author: Craig Groeschel