Wednesday, April 27, 2011
To Give or Not to Give
In these tight economic times, charities from around the world are feeling the pinch of people tightening up their wallets. Charities are failing to raise enough money to accomplish all their goals. As we receive weekly letters from charities asking for more money, I have begun wondering why we support anybody at all. Does what we give do enough good to "bother" doing it? Is there truly any joy in giving? What gives (bad pun, I couldn't help it)?
First off, my husband and I are Christians, so we put a lot of stock in what the Bible says. Since God and Jesus mention giving/supporting each other pretty regularly throughout the Old and New Testaments, we feel we have a responsibility to give. Our money is not our own, but God's, and God calls us to give to Him and to give to others. So we do. At first, it wasn't cheerful giving, as called for in 2 Corinthians 9:7, but as we "got used to it", we began looking forward to other opportunities to give: to support visiting missionaries, to buy groceries to keep in the car and hand out to people begging on the street, to help fund a youth scholarship, etc. It makes us happy to be able to be a part of extending God's kingdom.
Learning to budget for giving was a little hard at first. We created a "test" budget when we went through pre-marital counseling and added tithing as a permanent portion of our budget. It was a little difficult (what isn't at the beginning of a marriage?), but after a few months, we were completely used to it. We started with the recommended church tithe of 10% but have been trying to expand our giving in the past few years. We've realized that we should give above and beyond the 10%, and we do our absolute best to exceed it. Currently, we have automatic payments set up to give to a variety of different Christian charities, and we support our church regularly. Then the fun part of giving comes in: We try to find different ways to help locally (as exemplified above). It feels so wonderful to be able to give when God opens our eyes to a need, much like in Brandon Heath's song "Give Me Your Eyes".
A few years ago, my husband became very strongly convicted about getting our family out of debt. He examined our finances, and within a year and a half, the only thing we owed anyone else was house payments. So now, we have some wiggle room in our budget. Every month, we do our best to be disciplined and stick to our financial plan. When the opportunity to financially help someone arises, we take it. I am firmly convinced that we would not be able to do so if we still had our former debts dictating our financial habits. It is good to be out of debt so we can give!
Give more, save more, spend less (on ourselves). This is our financial tenet. We aim to please God with it. He blesses us richly when we trust Him to provide, and He has always given us more than enough to fulfill us. God is good, and obeying Him is the best way we can show Him how much we want to return His love.
Challenge: Find new ways to give (in addition to any giving you're already doing).
-Domestic Goddess out.
Image by: Mr. Kris