Someone walks into the room. Maybe they show you a few pictures, and tell you about a story of someone who had such an amazing life change or impact through a gift or donation. You feel a slight obligation, maybe even a tinge of guilt. So you give. Which is great. I’m all for giving. But why do we only give after having gone through all of that? Why does someone have to entice you? Convince you? Maybe even guilt you into giving? Instead of just giving, maybe it’s more about generosity.
Anyone can give. But how many of us can be generous? When was the last time someone said you’re generous? I’m not saying that this has to be the case, but it sure is a good sign. You see, generosity isn’t an amount. It’s not some monetary threshold where you get promoted from a giver to a generous person.
What is generosity?
Generosity is about being strategic. It’s about good management. Wisdom. Having a vision. It’s about pouring your heart out. It’s about prioritizing people.
It’s a heart thing. And sure, when people talk about it, it’s always about including time and energy and any other ‘resource’ you have. But right now, I want to talk specifically about money. Why? Because, quite frankly, money is much closer to our hearts than we’d like to admit. When was the last time you got upset or proud or opinionated about money? This week? Yesterday? Probably today.
So here’s a thought: When was the last time you put your hope in money? Maybe right now? Why is it that we think that when we want to follow God’s will, being “financially secure” is always something to consider.
If God’s will for your life doesn’t look like it’s going to be as financially secure as you think it should, would you still want to follow?
“You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matt. 6:24)
If money makes your world go round, then maybe your world is missing God.
But, hey, before you leave, before you click away because I sound like I’m anti-money, or anti-rich, then please indulge me for a moment. Money isn’t evil, it’s just money. It’s neutral. Although from one side, the love of money may be the root to all kinds of evil, the wise use and management of it can go heck of a long way.
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:21)
It can be a warning, but it’s also a truth that can be displayed in one of the most life-giving ways. It’s really a case of whether you’ll go through life working for money, or making money work for you.
It’s not enough to just give
Maybe you think I’m extreme, but if you’re a follower of Jesus, then you shouldn’t just be a giver. You need to be generous one. Most people are givers. In fact, they give even if they’re selfish. That’s because we often give by accident. It’s by accident, because it’s unplanned. But if you’re generous, you’ll live a certain lifestyle. You know you live on a certain percentage of what you get, and you’ve chosen a certain percentage to give to others.
The way you manage the money you have says something about you, even if you don’t think it does. You see, it’s not enough to think or feel like you’re not selfish or greedy. Your life has to actually display it. Money leaves a paper trail, so what does that trail say about you? Do you live as if everything that comes your way is meant for you?
If you’re really prepared to ‘love one another’, then what percentage would be right to give? 5%? 10%? 50%?
I’m sure that for some of you, as soon as you read 50%, you experienced tangible pain. Like right now. Or maybe you instantly had 50 different reasons pop up in your mind of why giving such a large amount is ridiculous. Whatever percentage that may be, that’s your heart telling you how much money means to you.
I’ve never met anyone who’s told me their greatest desire was to be the most selfish person in the world. I’m sure you’ve never intended to be selfish. I know I haven’t. The problem though, is that despite our intentions, our lives show something else. And in the end, our lives, not our intentions, will make the difference.
So perhaps, if you’ve never started, then start. Choose a percentage of your income and then give it. Learn to live off the rest. Learn to manage it well. Learn to invest it. Learn. Maybe you think you know what it takes to give. Do you know what it takes to be generous?
Generosity is not just a “be a better person” or “be a good person” kind of thing. It’s a spiritual thing. It’s about devotion. It’s about your heart. Put action in the love that you say you have.