The idea isn’t my own, but it’s a good one. I’m not sure I can point to a specific verse to give it scriptural sanction, but in the dust and sweat of every day living, it’s worth mulling over.
The reason I say it’s worth considering is because it connects the essence of your life – your work – to the essence of love – giving. When giving is among your highest priorities, it is frequently on your mind. Since God is love, loving to give is a sure way to stay close to His heart.
If you are one of those who struggle with knowing when, how much, and to whom you should give, this might help you sort all that out. Tithing and giving at your church is the place to start, but most of us need to give beyond our tithe and a token offering.
So, here is a suggestion for those who are a little fearful about testing their faith.
Have a discussion with God. Tell Him all of your financial fears and ambitions. Describe all that you are responsible for. Think about what and who you would help if you had plenty of money.
Then, make a deal with Him.
Here is what a condensed version of that conversation might sound like.
“God, I’d like to be able to do more than just pay my tithes and give a small offering, but I feel so limited. With three small children, it seems I can never get ahead. At home, something is either wearing out or tearing up, and the car is a money pit. Not to mention doctor and dentist bills and daycare fees. It all adds up. We’re trying to save for emergencies and put something back for retirement, but it seems we are fighting a losing battle. We’ve talked about supporting a missionary on each continent, but we’ve never been able to make that happen.”
That’s the conversation. The deal follows. (We’ll use easy numbers to keep it simple. I’m sure yours will be more complicated.)
“So, God, we need about $1,500 each month for housing, utilities, and food. The car is another $400 per month, and insurance for the family costs $700. We need to put about $600 into savings each month for clothes, school fees, and repairs. By the time we add everything up, including tithes and taxes, our family needs about $4,000 each month.”
“So, God, here is the deal. Whatever you provide for us over $4,000 every month, we will use to advance Your cause. We will help others in need, and we will support those missionaries that You have given us the desire to help. As you prosper us, we will make giving a priority, and will allow you to use us a conduit through which your blessings can flow.”
Obviously, if you aren’t giving what you can now, going through this exercise probably won’t shake heaven. And if you are afraid to entertain God’s counter offer then you should probably just leave this alone.
But if you sincerely want to see God’s kingdom advance and you are willing to step out in faith to see it happen, then I encourage you to prayerfully inventory your own life and itemize your wants and needs and see what you are able to give. Determine at what level you will live, and then prepare yourself to be that conduit through which God channels His resources to where they are most needed.
Oh, and you did notice that I mentioned that God might respond with a counter offer? He might suggest an immediate offering that you know you cannot afford. Or, He might think that you really don’t need that second fishing boat. But whatever He says, do. He has a way of personalizing His arrangements with us that are far superior to anything I might put on paper. Or that we both could think up.
It is more blessed to give than to receive. If you have a heart to give, and you are willing to work to make it happen, prepare to be blessed beyond your imagination.