Your problem with Giving is probably You.

Financial lesson #2: Giving

I think most of us, if we are completely honest with ourselves, are quite selfish even in our giving.
When I give I want it to be on my terms. I don’t like a knock on my window when I pull up to the stoplight asking for some money for lunch. They should know the only change I have is for emergencies and this doesn’t qualify. I’m much more comfortable knowing that I commited to paying $30 a month to sponsor a child, and it will cost me just $30.
When I give my hard earned money I want it to go to a deserving organization. I want to feel good about it. I often want to be recognized for it. I mean, after all, isn’t this my money I’m giving away?
Many of the thoughts I mentioned above are perfectly okay, but there are a few reasons that sometimes they are not. You see, a major part of the call to give is to teach you that money is not your god or master.
Take Jesus’ encounter with the rich young ruler* as an example (I’m not a ruler, but I sure feel young and rich). Did Jesus ask him to give everything he had so that the needs of the poor would be met? That was probably one reason. Most of us recognize though, that it was very much about him being willing to let go, and follow Christ. I far too often hear the response to that passage being that we aren’t required to give everything away, we just should be willing to if God ever asked it of us (and lo and behold I know not one person who God has ever asked to give away all they had).
Well today is the day. It’s time to for you to open your tight fist and release your tight grip on money, so that you can grip easily the hand of God. Today we stop making excuses and being self-centered in our giving, instead we give because we NEED to give to release our tight grip on money; to acknowledge that money is not our god.

Your Assignment for the Week/month: Take $100 (For most people with an income that’s probably less then half your tithe each month) out of the bank in $1 bills. Over the next month: give to anyone who asks, drop bills in places they’ll be found, try to give a dollar to a random stranger, hide them in findable places at work, drop them out the window at a school bus stop. Have fun, and give with no expectations or qualifications on your giving.

8 thoughts on “Your problem with Giving is probably You.”

  1. I think that when a person’s goal becomes to not have money, that in essence becomes the idolatry of money in the same way as someone whose goal is to attain money. I say… take what the Lord blesses you with… and be a good steward of it.

  2. I dont know that I agree with you fully on this one. I applaud the idea of teaching ourselves to give by giving with no expecations, but while we are doing that we should maximize our giving opportunity. I know what you are saying, but I would rather give 100 dollars away to alleviate suffering than to some exec picking up a dollar. Do you know what I mean?

  3. Maybe I’m being misunderstood here, I’ll try to explain a little in this comment, but it might warrant a whole different post.
    First, I’m NOT advocating “Not having money.” If my ideas of giving appear that way then I am sorry, I am trying to advocate for two things: Caring for the needs around us, and serving God, not Money. This post was about breaking from making money our God.

    Two, there are two sides to giving: the giving and the receiving. This post was about the giving part. Too many people justify their lack of giving on the inappropriateness of those receiving. My point is to say we need to GIVE, and too many are not doing that and blaming it on those other then themselves. I MUST give, I MUST hold loosely to my money. Once I get that figured out then I agree I’d rather give it to meet the needs around me rather then some exec. But, I’m GOING to give it.
    You see too many Christians (who should be tithing 10% at least I believe) see the man asking for money at the stoplight and say like you, “I’d rather give this to alleviate suffering then to this guy who might buy booze,” and then they NEVER give that money away, most of us only tithe 2.5% of our income. If your going to give it away, then this post wasn’t necessary for you, but far too many people don’t and they blame it or justify it by talking about the receiving.

  4. First of all – thanks for starting this discussion; it’s an important one! This is an issue that I’ve really struggled with myself. I’m really stumped by the passage where it talks about giving clothes, food, etc to the stranger in need and equates it to feeding and clothing Christ himself. How do we live this out in our modern culture where there is so much talk about being careful where our money goes? Living in Baltimore, which is commonly referred to as the “heroin capital”, I don’t want to hand money blindly to anyone that I see on the street. Not only do I think that it would be better spent to alleviate suffering, I don’t want to be an enabler by supporting an addict’s habbit. However, I do feel a strong desire to practice spontaneous giving in addition to my budgeted, planned tithing. One solution that I recently found was to buy packs of crackers at the store and keep them an easily accessible place in my car. Now, when I see someone at a light who says they’re hungry I can help meet that need with food, not money. Although it may not be what they really want, I’ve never received a complaint and have gotten many smiles. I’m out of crackers and hope to restock this weekend. I’m thinking about expanding a bit and putting together little bags and adding a few other things… maybe a fruit cup, granola bar.

  5. Aren’t we lucky we’re not the ones standing at the stop light just waiting for someone’s generosity, be it a cracker or a dollar!!

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