The Easy Part of Generosity
Spirituality can mean a lot of things – becoming intimate with the sacred, welcoming the holy into our lives, or coming closer to Jesus. It is always a process of growth. But here’s the thing, and it will likely surprise you:
The easiest place in our lives for spiritual growth to occur is in our financial giving.
You may find it hard to believe, but it’s true. Think about this.
- It’s far easier to grow your giving than to love someone you don’t love.
- It’s much easier to give in new ways or to new causes than to give up a prejudice, a grudge, or an addiction.
- It’s actually easier to give God money than to give up to God the hidden corners of your heart and mind.
Giving is the easy part.
You can decide what you want to do. But when you decide to give to a cause or mission that inspires you, you’ll feel better. And that’s important, because this is often where people’s guilt begins. When we mention financial giving, or financial stewardship, many people report feeling afraid of being coerced into something they don’t want to do. Any decision about giving has to be yours. There is no other way. The Giver always decides.
But it does not follow that the church or people charged with spiritual direction should therefore have no guidance or direction for you. Stewardship is not about telling people what to give. It is about helping people make informed decisions about their gifts: financially informed, materially informed, spiritually informed decisions.
So here are two steps you can take to engage your giving at a new level:
1. Calculate your current giving as a percentage of income. Everything the Bible says about giving is based on percentage (i.e. a tenth, a portion, etc.). Take the amount you gave in a recent month, and divide that number by your pay amount that month. The first two numbers after the decimal show the percentage you gave. Rejoice! You are now looking at this biblically.
2. Next, take your pay amount and multiply times .01 or 1%. The answer to that is a number you can pray about. Prayerfully consider adding that amount to what you currently give. When you do, you will have now become a percentage giver. When you are ready to add another percent or more, go ahead. Don’t forget to re-calculate when you get a raise.
This is the easy part of spirituality. If you can deal with giving, you may find some of the other parts of your spiritual life become a little easier as well.