Rather than a fixed amount or figure, God gives us three guidelines for giving.
1. Give cheerfully (not reluctantly)…
2. Give regularly (not when you feel like it)…
3. Give sacrificially (in a way that requires lifestyle adjustment).
Maybe take a moment to chew over these three things in relation to your own giving at present.
Here are some further suggestions that I have found helpful in my wrestle with materialism & the hold of Mammon on my life, and how I am attempting to bring my use of money into line with God’s intentions.
1. Get in touch with your real feelings about money so you can come to terms with your fears, your insecurities and your guilt.
2. Stop denying your wealth. Don’t compare yourself to others like you and claim relative poverty (e.g. “but she has more clothes”, “he has a bigger car”). Think globally!
3. Create an atmosphere in which confession is possible. Create a climate of acceptance where we can talk about our struggles, and confess our fears & temptations.
4. Let new attitudes to money change how you talk about money. For example, do you “need” a new car or “want” one? Do you “need” new shoes or “want” them? OR do we talk about how much of “our” money that we give to God rather than how much of “God’s” money that we keep for ourselves?
5. Get someone to hold you accountable. Keep a list of all your spending for 3 months show it to someone. Chat it through together.
6. Don’t get all legalistic about it. When God teaches us to give cheerfully, regularly & sacrificially (tithe) it isn’t about dosh… it’s about devotion! The Pharisees gave from their pocket, but not from their heart. A tithe is a good starting point when it comes to giving; and it’s not designed to punish us, but to free us from a misplaced sense of security in stuff.
7. Consider ways to get in touch with the poor. Buy Fair trade produce; campaign with Tearfund; collect for Christian Aid; go on an overseas mission trip.
8. Start giving in a costly way. Not stupidly, but not in a safe way either. Let go of the security you place on your money and in doing so really mean it when you pray “Lord, give us today our daily bread”. Let your giving be an act of confidence in God.
This blog series is not designed to make you feel guilty, but to uncover the beast that wrestles for top spot in our lives. To give as God intends is a call to liberation & life, but it is a challenging call & life-long battle against the values of this world. So let’s wrestle together.
Philippians 4 v11-13… “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”