To be honest, I have never felt comfortable talking about who I give to and why. I am a firm believer that God is the only one that is to hear about our charitable work. In no way is charity defined as giving so you can tell others about how awesome you are, so I am hesitant in approaching this topic.
1 : benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity
2a : generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering; also : aid given to those in need
b : an institution engaged in relief of the poor
c : public provision for the relief of the needy
I am also super hesitant in talking about this because it is such a personal choice. I do not want to influence you, shame you, or make you feel like you “should” give. My goal is to tell you the truth about my giving and if you have the desire, but not the means, then maybe we can relate for just a minute.
Shad and I met as non-givers. It was about “us” and “me”, and never about “them”. It was “how can we be happier, better, or more satisfied.” We just did not consider others unless it was right in front of our faces in the form of a homeless person or when our church would sponsor an event for filling back packs or shoe boxes. We were so passive and so not intentional. We were “reactive givers.”
We often would say that we had little to begin with. We used the excuse of being self employed for years. How can we give when we have no idea what our income is on a month to month basis?
Then our hearts were turned upside down. Our church had a way of doing this sort of thing. We began to see need beyond our scope of life and we saw how our church family’s generosity affected the poor and needy. We wanted to be a part of this. We went back to the budget, enrolled in Financial Peace University, and began to comb through our finances and learn how to budget, plan, and give.
I am not going to tell you we started tithing right away and that we gave every chance we got. What I CAN say is that we look for opportunities to give and we follow that nudge. We still have much work to do in opening our fists more and more that hold on to money that we often mistake for security.
It is the change in heart that the Lord is looking for and a change in behavior.
So if you are considering giving somewhere in your circle of life and are a little nervous of how this will effect your bottom line, hear this: Once we started giving, we seem to worry less about money and more about how and where we can give next. It is a beautiful thing, even when times are tight, we know God will provide for us. He always has and promises he always will.
Provision is not just in the form of money. We have been at the point of eating Ramen nooodles for dinner for weeks on end due to tight times. It wasn’t fun, but we were still provided for and fed a meal. That is saying more than most the people in this world can say. It’s all in perspective.
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