One of the Truly Great Financial AdventuresRachel Indorf
When my wife, Jude, and I got married, I was making almost three times as much as she was (she worked in full-time ministry while I had a corporate job), and yet she had more money in savings, more money in investments, a paid-off car that was two years newer than my paid-off car, and she was giving away a higher percentage of her salary.
Some of this could be explained by the financial crash and burn I went through some years earlier and the four and half years I spent shoveling lots of money toward creditors to get things cleaned up. But not the generosity piece. Even though I’m eight years older, she was simply further down the road in the journey of generosity.
I think that’s the best way to describe generosity, as a journey. While I know of some people who became Christians as adults and suddenly started giving away a high percentage of their salary, for most of us, generosity is something we grow into.
What contributed to my slow start were all the years I spent unaware of the importance of generosity and then, after becoming a Christian, misunderstanding generosity as mostly an obligation.
Obedience is certainly part of generosity. After all, the Bible instructs us:
“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops.” – Proverbs 3:9
However, the joy my wife experiences in being generous has shown me a whole different side to biblical generosity.
Our hearts follow our treasure
In Matthew 6:21, Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” When I first read that, I thought it should be the other way around, that what we set our hearts on is where we put our money. But I’ve come to see that the Bible is saying something much more powerful. Giving to Christ-centered initiatives is a proactive step we can take to build our relationship with God.
Giving is an act of worship
I really like Howard Dayton’s advice that when we give we should imagine we are giving directly to Jesus. It brings to mind David’s words about the gifts given toward the building of the temple.
“’But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.’” – 1 Chronicles 29:14
There’s a humility in those words, a recognition that it’s only because of God’s provision and grace that he and his people were able to be part of such an initiative. It has taught me that whenever we give to thank God for his provision.
Giving leads to blessings
Jesus explicitly told us, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). And many secular studies have affirmed this, demonstrating that generous people are happier than those who are not generous.
“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” – Proverbs 11:25
There are numerous verses that say there are blessings that come from being generous. It’s a little tricky teaching on this topic, though. You don’t ever want to come at generosity from a “give to get” perspective. That, I’m convinced, is unbiblical.
“Who has ever given to God, that God should repay them?” – Romans 11:35
However, there are blessings that come from living the generous lives we were designed to live. Far better to come at it from a “give because” perspective, though—because of God’s goodness toward us, because God designed us to live generous lives, because generosity enables us to live “the life that is truly life” (I Tim.6:17-19)
Spend some time in prayer this week, asking God what next step he has in mind for you on your journey of generosity.