Earn, invest, and spend! Giving and being generous were not part of the conversation. A culture of consumption led me down a self absorbed road for a long time. Even though there’s been a shift towards generosity and giving in our culture, it’s a small step towards a great goal. Truth is most people don’t know how to give. That was me – 35 years old and self serving. Self examination doesn’t show us how greedy we are…..you can’t see it in the mirror.
Has anyone taught you how to be rich by giving? Society, culture, TV, advertising taught our parents to want it all and to overspend to get it. This left them with little to be generous with. Few schools teach how to give. Then fear of the future robs us of our desire to give and be generous. Often we don’t give as we value security, not only materialism, hoarding our possessions. There is often competition for Lordship in our lives between God and money.
How can you change? What’s the process?
Start with the foundation…..
Jesus himself reminds us, “…you cannot serve both God and money”.
Then consider the real security in life…..
“Therefore, do not worry about your life”
Jesus assures us we don’t have to worry about our life because God’s promised to take care of us.
……further Jesus teaches in verse 33,
But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Then start praying…..
God what do you want me to do with all you’ve entrusted to me?
Did you know as Canadians we spend 99.6% of our income on ourselves? The average donation in 2010 was $260 on the average family income of $69,860. Worse only 23% of Canadians claim a charitable donation. That means 77% claim zero. Until 11 years ago I was one of them. I’d give a $20 at church here or there. Even a $100 thinking I was generous. But until you look at your tax return you have no objective means of analyzing generosity. It’s like learning how to be rich. Learning how to be generous takes thought.
This is thin ice I’m stepping on; after all as Canadians we pride ourselves in helping around the world. But I really want you to wrestle with this for yourself. Don’t think about an image that we project and protect. Think about reality!
How are you going to make a difference.?
The Bible speaks about training in this area of our lives as the apostle Paul wrote to his apprentice Timothy:
It is required of a steward (property and money manager) that he be found faithful.
1 Corinthians 4:2
“Faithful” – What does that mean?
Have you ever received a spontaneous gift, something truly unexpected? A small gift made a big impression on me. A few years ago a friend gave me a Santana CD. He just knew I liked the music and gave me the CD. Suddenly I became aware of the tension between my own selfishness, with my time and money, and generosity.
Here’s the struggle, we have limited time and money to give. Most of us might feel we don’t have margin in our lives. If we don’t make changes and become more open-handed, it’ll cost us in terms of how we’re perceived and how we’ll be remembered.