Give generously. Save wisely. Live appropriately.
This is the sequence that leads to financial health. It is also the sequence that aligns most closely with what we find in the Bible.
Unfortunately, most manage their finances in reverse—Live, save, give. Giving is for the leftovers. The idea of making generosity the priority of our finances is a struggle for many. Here are a few reasons why:
1. We are not familiar with what the Bible says about giving. We are not aware of the Bible’s teaching on money and generosity. We have not spent enough time reading God’s Word to see what He says about it. So we miss out on the abundance of wisdom and direction found in the Bible on this important subject.
“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.” – 2 Corinthians 9:7
“You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.” But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” – Deuteronomy 8:17-18
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:21
2. We don’t feel like we make enough money to give. Some feel that generosity is a act reserved for the wealthy, those that have more than enough. What difference could our few dollars make anyway?
3. We have loads of debt. Debt is a generosity killer. We are not able to live with open hands because they are chained to the credit card company. We feel the stress caused by living on the edge of a financial disaster. Paying our bills becomes the priority, not giving.
4. We don’t trust the church. Our first place of generosity should be our local church. Unfortunately, we often withhold our giving for the church for a variety of reasons that boils down to a lack of trust. We don’t trust the leadership. We don’t trust the financial management. And we don’t trust the impact the church is making.
5. We don’t trust God. We act as if God is not the owner of everything, that He does not hold all the resources we will ever need in His hands. We don’t trust that He will take care of us, that He will give us those resources He holds. So we hold tightly to our money. Even though it was God who entrusted us with His resources, we don’t trust Him.
God designed us, not to be hoarders, but conduits through which His generosity flows. The pattern found in our finances should be this—give generously, save wisely, and live appropriately.
Finding happiness and contentment in our financial picture starts with generosity. For the 5 weeks, consider making generosity your financial priority. For the next few week, determine to align yourself with God’s design for you and your money.
This article was originally published by Art Rainer on his website. Art Rainer is a Vice President at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He holds a Doctor of Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. He writes widely about issues related to finance, wealth, and generosity. You can read and hear more from Art at his website here!