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Six Steps to Joyful Giving -- from Stewardship for All Seasons
By Dr. Robert B. Gronlund
You can by following these six steps. They have been used successfully in thousands of churches. They have helped hundreds of thousands of Christians strengthen their spiritual lives and experience greater joy in giving.
The principles which follow are tested and proven. They are biblical and spiritual. Giving, which is a drudgery for all too many, can become one of your greatest joys and blessings if you follow these six steps.
I Recognize Your Need to Give
It is a fundamental spiritual and psychological principle that life and its gifts are to be used and shared. Life cannot be hoarded or it turns in upon itself. “Whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. (Matthew 16:25) We each have a deep inherent need to give. To give is to live!
But unfortunately, instead of focusing on our own need to give, all too often we center on the need of the church to receive. The church does seek our support but we must remember it is God’s Church and it will prosper and flourish in God’s own good time whether we give to it or not. The wonder of it all is what God invites us to be a part of: God’s church and the experience of joy and the blessing of generosity supporting and extending its mission.
Just as a coin, Christian giving has two sides. For too long, we centered mostly on the side entitled “The Need of the Church.” We need to begin concentrating on the side headed “My Need to Give” because giving is an integral part of spiritual life and growth.
II Seek God’s Will for Your Giving in Prayer
What do we tend to do when the church asks for our support?
The common tendency is to consult our spouse, our budget, our bills, our income, our tax situation, our investments, our accountant, etc., and then determine what we can afford or spare.
Instead we should as Christians seek to discover what God’s will is for us in our giving. Prayer is an integral part of the Christian life. The decision on how much to give should not be made without seeking first in prayer what God would have us do.
III Place God First in Your Budgeting and Spending
The Ten Commandments stress that God be first in our lives. As Jesus said, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be yours as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
Many experience difficulty giving generously despite the desire and pledge to do so, because they attempt to give from what is left over at the end of the week or month rather than from first fruits, from all they have received.
The simple practice of placing God and The Church first in budgeting and spending has helped many to experience joy in their giving. When you do this you are giving from all that a good and loving God has provided. And you are practicing stewardship, understanding that you are but a temporary trustee of what God has entrusted to you.
IV Have Faith and Assume Sufficiency Not Scarcity
Many fear they will not have enough to live on. This is called The Scarcity Assumption. It is human and natural but it is not Christian.
Our faith teaches us that God will provide sufficiently for all our needs if we but trust in God’s promises. And this is so even when we give away the largest portion or amount that we have ever given!
So we have faith that a good and gracious God will continue to provide for us in the future as God has in the past. And as God has promised to do!
We can trust God as did Abraham of old and so many others throughout the pages of the Bible. These examples were written for our instruction and for our assurance. When we learn to give in faith with the assumption of sufficiency, not scarcity, God will provide because God cares for us.
V Decide to Give Sacrificially
Little was ever accomplished without sacrifice. This is true in our homes, our work, our church, our country. Sacrifice is a necessary component of successful living.
Much of church giving is only token giving, averaging about two percent of income. No wonder there is so little joy or satisfaction in it! It requires no sacrifice! We have given only what we could easily afford, what we would not really miss.
Experience has shown that giving, to be meaningful and joyful, has to be sacrificial! Each will have to determine what amount or percentage is sacrificial for his or her circumstances. But experience again suggests that for most people sacrificial giving begins at five percent of income with proportions under five percent falling into the token giving category.
Church interest is often low, studies have shown, because investment is low. There is no sacrifice. It doesn’t really cost anything. Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will be your heart also.” (Luke 12:34) Where is my treasure? Where is my heart?
VI Continue Growing in Christ!
When do you stop giving and growing in giving? God never stops giving to us!
If your giving is to be blessed and joyful, it must continue to advance and expand. Don’t stop at five percent, move on to six, seven, eight and even the biblical tithe, ten percent! Once you have experienced the joy of good and generous giving, you will want to keep on growing!
If you have never tried tithing, but have thought about it, why not take this step of faith? It’s biblical for most. It’s sacrificial. Most have found it fills their need to give. Pray about it and see if it is God’s will for you at this time.
It’s up to you! Six steps to joyful giving! Start your spiritual journey in giving now and you will be blessed!