Fearless Givers

One of the things that Scripture is clear about when it comes to the subject of giving is God does not want you to give out of guilt or compulsion. Paul says, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”[1] A cheerful giver does not sound like a person that is giving out of guilt or obligation. Approaching life as a steward means there is no hint of pressure. There’s not a percentage or certain amount you have to give. This is because God is the owner of everything and does not need your money to advance the Kingdom of God.

In the same breath, we cannot let fear and emotions keep us from giving either. Sometimes our emotions like fear can dictate how we steward the resources God has entrusted to us. Just as you would most likely not advise someone to buy a stock based on emotions, you should not base how you give on emotions either. On top of that, Paul makes it clear that there is a “reaping and sowing” principle in play when it comes to giving. He says, “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”[2] That means there is a correlation between how much our wallet reaps and how much we sow out of our relationship with God.

In order to sow what we desire, we have to put a plan in place that helps us conquer our fears in giving. If we allow emotions to get the best of us, we will end up reaping and sowing very little because our emotions and fears will get the best of us. There are a number of questions that come into play when we begin to steward God’s resources and live generous lives towards others. Questions like “How much should I give?” and “Who should I give it to?” and “How often should I give it?” are all legitimate questions. In Fields of Gold, Andy Stanley puts together some Biblical principles that help us minimize fear in giving and help us grow in our stewardship of the resources God has entrusted to us.[3] This plan revolves around three “P’s” of giving: Prioritize, Percentage and Progressive.

“Prioritize” means you give off the top before you pay the mortgage or buy groceries. You place a priority to give on the ministries you feel like God is leading you to “invest” in. Giving off the top can help minimize fear because you don’t have to worry about things at the end of the month when you have already given priority to ministries that help advance the Kingdom of God.

“Percentage” means set a certain percentage of your income to give away on a consistent basis. This gives you something objective to shoot for and helps to remove emotions from the equation. A percentage of what you bring in is fairly “black and white” and easy to measure whether or not you are hitting the mark. Even if you can only give 1% commit to a percentage and stick to it.

“Progressive” means you remain open to God growing and stretching you in the area of giving. Once you have crossed the “threshold” of giving, it becomes less and less a test of our faith because you are more comfortable with how much you are giving away. God will, at times, lead us to give more and cross the “threshold” of giving yet again. This is important because it consistently challenges us to grow in our faith towards God in the area of finances and resources. It also consistently challenges us towards living lives that are generous towards God and others.

[1] 2 Corinthians 9:7

[2] 2 Corinthians 9:6

[3] The full explanation of this plan is found in chapter 5 of Fields of Gold. I would encourage you to read this great resource for more on the subject of stewardship: Stanley, Andy. Fields of Gold. (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.: Wheaton, IL, 2004). Pg. 81-101.

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