Monday, November 22, 2010

Leave Year-End Giving Behind

This weekend I was again reminded why it is so important to trust in the Lord & lean not on your own understanding (Prov 3:5) when looking at your finances. I am in the business of raising support to survive & will be for at least another nine months. It is quite a mystery to me, as I look back over my life since I started raising support 15 months ago, how I have been able to keep my head above water.

Letting God takeover your finances goes beyond just cutting that "generous" year end check during the Holidays every year. God commands much more of us in the realm of money but as Jesus said, "Well done my good & faithful servant. You have been trust with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things."

Below are 3 ways in which you can begin to loosen the grip you have on your finances & begin to trust God more with what he has given you.

Year-Start Giving: Wait isn't it year-end giving? Yeah, that is how we usually do it. We take a look at what is left after eleven plus months of spending & decide how much we can afford to give to our churches, charities & missionaries. But honestly, God gets frustrated with this way of living. We can't honestly say we trust him when we give him the last of our money. In Leviticus 23 God tells his people that they are to bring the first & best fruit of their harvest and give them to him. After all, God did bring them to the land that they were living and harvesting from. What would it look like to have all our "year end" giving done in January? Think about it, you have all your tithing, donations, tax-exempt hoopla out of the way in the first month. It also will bring you to the point of going to God & asking him how he will provide for you in certain areas over the next year. He will constantly be in your mind as you think about the giving you gave before the spending you'll spend.

Give Automatically: This is not the same as regular giving. While there are still many people who write a check regularly for their church (most do it while sitting right in the service) they can still tend to flake out when trusting God. They see the spending that is happening every time they open the checkbook & if there has been too much during a particular month, God takes the hit. 2 Corinthians 9 talks about coming to a decision on what you are going to give & to do it cheerfully. Automatic giving helps here. You can sign up with practically any 501.c3 to have money withdrawn automatically from your account. Or another option is to go to your online bank account & enter the organization's info there. Most banks only need a name & address. They will print & snail mail a check to your recipient. 

Give Your Time: The excuse always comes up that we do not have enough money coming in to give the way that we would like to right now. I know people who have been saying that for most of their post high school lives. Well great, I'm compassionate, I can understand that, but how about you serve somewhere? I believe that your time is worth exponentially more than your money is (most of us here are not rolling in Bill Gates' type of money). Take some of the time spent in front of the TV or the two plus hours you spend on the Internet every day & get plugged in. I have yet to have one youth pastor to tell me that they have plenty of adult volunteers. I doubt you will walk into any food pantry, homeless shelter, or after school program & hear the director tell you that they are good on help, & that they would just rather have your money. James confirms this, "Show me your faith without deeds & I will show you my faith by what I do" (2:18).

Please don't take these as the only ways in which you can relinquish control of your finances to God. They are simply ways that have helped in my life & in the lives of others I have talked to. God wants to be the provider in all areas of your life, including your finances. Take time to pray & talk about this with people who love you and will speak honestly about it.

Question: What things do you do to make sure that God is getting the "first fruits" of your finances?

1 comment: