God and Money
Giving, God Doesn't Need Your Money, But...
2 Corinthians 9:7, 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.
How do you feel when your pastor talks to you about giving? It is a fact that many people are turned off when they are preached at when it comes to giving. Some people feel pressured, guilt-ridden, uncomfortable or bitter, and sometimes all of the above. Giving is a very personal thing, and it is not one size fits all. I am asked regularly "should I give if I have debt," "should I give if I don't have money in savings," "should I give 10% net or gross," "if I can't give 10% is it ok to give less?" My answer is yes to all of these questions, but in my heart I believe it is not the amount you give but how you give that is important. Words that come to mind are giving anonymously, cheerfully, sacrificially and willingly.
In my new book Six Week Money Challenge: For Your Personal Finances I write, "Rich or poor, it is the ones who don't trust God with their finances who worry most about their money." Let's unwrap this a little by looking at two different scenarios. Take someone who has been blessed generously with financial resources and dutifully gives 10% of their abundance, but doesn't give it cheerfully or sacrificially. Instead they write their check each week because their pastor said they must give 10%. Take another person who is barely scraping by and each week still manages to give 1%, and when they give they do it cheerfully and sacrificially. Which person probably trusts God with their finances?
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What I know is that God does not need our money but... I want to give you a few points to ponder:
- When we give, we are acknowledging that everything comes from God, belongs to God, and is distributed by God and that He, not money, is the true provider for all of our needs.
- If you are financially rich but spiritually broke, all the money in the world won't provide you with true peace or a joyful life because you will always either worry about money, or spend your whole life working yourself to death chasing something that will end up going to someone else anyway!
- It is better to give a little something when you have nothing, then to give a little something when you have everything.
- Having a happy, rich, and full life has less to do with the amount of money you have and more to do with knowing that God has provided you a way to have eternal life which is a free gift from God!
- Don't be so concerned with how much you should be giving back to God and be more concerned with how much you are keeping from God.
- Giving doesn't have to start or end with Church. There are many organizations, ministries, and charities that need your financial help!
I am not saying that by giving you will magically transform your finances overnight but I believe that giving is the foundation of Christian financial living that will result in a life that is more fulfilling and satisfying because when you give, you are demonstrating your faith and are also being obedient by truly loving God with all of your heart and soul.
If you have never given in the past, start with a small amount. It does not matter if it is just $1.00 or 1%. If you are already giving, I challenge you to give more to see if God opens the windows of heaven for you and pours down His blessings!
Steve Repak, CFP®, Financial Literacy Speaker and the author of Six Week Money Challenge: For Your Personal Finances.
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