"Learning to Give - by Faith"



"Learning to Give - by Faith"

How to Give




How to Give? – A Faith-Releasing Explanation


By clicking on the titles below you should find a number of accompanying ‘resource pages' that go with this article, which is to help you become a Christian giver. Those pages that provide backup support information are:


The fact that you are here suggests you want to be a giver – a faith giver. If you work through this page and DO the things it suggests, you are about to start out on a great adventure of giving.


The thing about giving is that it isn't a one-off thing; it is a lifestyle approach to the Christian life. On the other pages you'll see Bible references that show us that God wants to lead us into the adventure of becoming a giver, and it blesses Him!


What we want to do here is provide an approach for those who feel they would like to become a regular giver but don't feel they have the faith to achieve it. You've perhaps seen the teaching about giving but you are uncertain about your ability to do it!


Oh, just a little warning for those who have been givers for a long time: it may be that the Lord wants to increase YOUR faith as well as that for the person who is stepping out for the first time, so please read and be open to what the Lord might want to say to you!

One final thing, this page needs reading right through and not jumping in part way. For that reason I have not put a contents of this page at the top.


The following are the stages of a process I would recommend to you to grow in faith for giving:



1. Understand God


Many people start out with a guilt feeling. You've heard teaching that says you ought to give and that God wants you to give and maybe even that God is upset with you if you don't give.


Well let's put aside all the guilt-inducing talk and see what the Bible really says about God and you. These are some of the fundamental things I've learnt about God from the Bible:


1. He loves me – that's why He sent Jesus to die for me (Jn 3:16 ).


2. He is for me. His love didn't just stop when I came to Him through the Cross, it carries on and on throughout my life and He is actually FOR ME (Rom 8:31) and even if I mess up He is working in whatever situation to bring good out of it for me (Rom 8:28).


3. He calls me His child (Jn 1:12 , 1 Jn 3:1) and therefore He will treat me as a child, not having too high expectations of me.


4. Indeed if I get it wrong, Jesus will be interceding on my behalf (1 Jn 2:1) and is seeking to restore me (Gal 6:1).


5. I also note that he is gracious and puts up with us experimenting with faith (Jud 6:36 -40).


Now these things are important to know if you want to learn to step out in faith with God in this giving adventure! He doesn't mind you learning in slow small stages.



2. Understanding Different Levels of Faith


The problem that many people have when thinking about stepping out in faith to give, is that they feel that they cannot make a big leap and so they make no step at all!


Think about what you may have heard about giving:


  •  “You need to give 10% of your net income (i.e. after tax).”
  •  “You should give 10% of your gross income (i.e. before tax).”
  •  “Tithing is only the start – offerings come next on top of your tithe.”


Scary isn't it!


But who said anything about 10% of your income? That was the Old Testament procedure but the New Testament doesn't say anything about that, so why work on 10%? 


Well a simple answer is that it's a nice easy figure to play with to start thinking about this. I'll let you know now that if you move down this faith path I don't want you to end up thinking about 10%! I want you to be free of that - but it's a useful figure to work around.



3. Realise the World You've Come From


We're all a bit like chameleons if we're honest. We like to blend in and not stand out and unfortunately we take on the values of the world around us almost without thinking. Over the last fifty years our Western world has developed incredibly and we are fortunate enough to live in THE most affluent part of history that has ever been.


So we have more possessions than any generation before us and we almost expect it to be our right to have the latest or the best of whatever, and to be able to spend large amounts on Christmas presents for the family, and on parties, and to have a holiday or three every year (well some of us do!).


Unfortunately what this lifestyle does is build into you a mentality that says we must keep on improving our standard of living and keeping up with everyone else, and this leads many of us into amassing big debts. It's no wonder that when we get to the end of the month we wonder if we'll actually make it without increasing the overdraft or having to take out more on the credit card.


One of God's objectives is to free you from constant debt, free you from the pressure of having to spend, and free you from worries about money. Believe it or not, starting to give is the first step in sorting out your finances!



4. Start at the Beginning of the Month


When it comes to giving, most people start by thinking what they have left over at the end of the month and then, living in the lifestyle described above, conclude they have nothing left and so can't give anything (or very little) and so give up and think about “Skiing for Jesus” or anything that takes their mind off giving.


So here's the starting point: start thinking about it at the beginning of the month when your bank balance is at its biggest and you feel most at peace.


Now! If you are honest, you probably do have a little left over at the end of each month, so let's start with that sum, shall we?


For an example and to use easy figures, let's start with someone with a monthly income of £1000 (that's £12,000pa, about half the national average wage).


Now if you were deciding to give God (via the church or wherever) a tithe that 10% would mean you were aiming to give Him £100 per month.


For some of us that sounds small money but for others of us it is enormous! “I'm lucky if manage to have £20 left over at the month,” someone says.


Fine, we've got to start somewhere. Let's decide to give away that £20 at the beginning of the month!


Here's what you do: you pray! Yes, that is the most crucial part of all of this; you talk to God about it.


You say something like, “Lord you see my finances aren't very good and I really need your help to sort them out. I would really like you to help me please. I would like to learn to be a giver but I've got hardly anything to give, so I'd like to start by giving you what I anticipate will be left over – my £20. Please bless it and the church I give it to. And please help me organise my spending this month so I don't run out having given you the £20 now. Amen.”


You have just launched out in faith. Don't mind the person who says, “Well it wasn't much faith was it!” It was for you, because you haven't done it before.



5. Check it out along the way


For that first month, think about what you are spending. While you are on this faith experiment you are asking God to oversee your finances. He'll watch but you'll be taking the action. So when the advert appears for a new skirt, a new pair of shoes, a new whatever it is, say, “No, not for this month.” If you are really tight for money then going out for a meal for the third time in the month is probably questionable, isn't it! This month you are going to be wise with your spending because you've asked the Lord to watch over you.



6. Check out the End of the Month


Now if you've done what I have suggested above, when you get to the end of the month, you're almost certainly going to find that you've still got some money left over. Wow!


It just may that you've got your finances in such a mess that you'll need some help to overcome the interest accruing on your cards or whatever, but otherwise almost certainly you'll find you have some left over – and that was after having given away £20 at the beginning of the month!



7. Step it up a notch!


Right, as you come to the beginning of the next month you give away your £20 as before and this time you put another £20 in an envelope and tuck it away. You do everything as you did last month – pray, watch, be careful and pray some more.


Lo and behold, you get to the end of the month and have the £20 envelope untouched AND you sill have another £10 left over! Wow, how did that happen? OK hand over the £20 envelope to the church or whatever at the end of the month and, hey, why not the £10 you've still got left.


Good gracious! You've given £50 away this month, half of that tithe figure!



8. Keep stepping it up


So the next month you repeat it, but now you give away £40 and put another £20 (or £40???) in the envelope. Do it the same. Pray, give, be careful, watch, pray.


You know what's coming don't you? Yes, that's it, you're actually giving away one tenth of your income every month and now you're not even noticing it, and here's the strange thing: your standard of living hasn't gone down; in fact it's gone up, but that's crazy because you are giving away money that once you didn't have to give away. How can that be?


The answer is that you've been working hand in hand with God and He's been blessing you. Slowly your spending pattern changed and slowly you received wisdom to do things better and somehow – inexplicably – your income seems to be going up! Not only that your worries about money seem to have gone and you have a new sense of wellbeing about life.



9. Going for Gold!


Now all that has been happening is that you have been in God's classroom learning how to gradually move in small steps of faith. Are you ready to move on?


You've got your finances in order, you are giving regularly and it is good. In fact you hardly think about it now. Are you ready to move on to be a bigger blessing to God's world?


OK, you're now going to be learning to listen to God's Holy Spirit and become a source of practical blessing to others. You're going to hear God for giving randomly to others. So how do you go about this?


1. Don't let this affect the giving pattern you've established already.

2. Pray and ask the Lord to stretch your income so that you can bless other people.

3. Ask Him to make you sensitive to needs in people around you.

4. Watch and listen!


It'll probably start small. A friend looks tired and a bit frayed. “I wonder if she would appreciate a bunch of flowers,” you think. Hey, guess where that came from.


It's only a bunch of flowers, but she feels really good that someone cared. She was really blessed. That was easy. Then the child of a friend at a church fun and games event shows an aptitude for a particular game. He doesn't have it at home because they are hard up. As you happen to be passing a local charity shop you happen to spot the game in the window. A thought crosses your mind, “Hey, I know who would like that!” Where did that come from! He is blessed when you hand it over.


These are just small things but they seem to bring blessing. You find yourself with a new awareness of the needs of people around you. It hasn't broken the bank to reach out in small ways to bless them. In fact it's been an adventure!



10. Watch for the Test


So far it has been fun. A bit nerve wracking at the beginning but it got easier as you went along. Yes, you've been talking to the Lord about it as you've gone along and there's been a new sense of excitement in your relationship with Him.


Then one day He presents you with a bit bigger need. You know it's Him because you've learnt to identify His nudges but this person needs £50 and you're now sailing close to going back into the red – and you've been out of that for months now! That's not fair, Lord!


But the nudging persists. Very well; you hand over the £50 and they are seriously blessed. You pray! “Lord, help! I need help to get by this month!” And then before you know it you're into the next month and as you check your bank balance you see you never went into the red. How did that happen? God, of course! Oh, by the way, congratulations; you passed the test, and I feel damp-eyed even thinking about you!


You don't need me any more; you're on your own with Him now, on this adventure of faith. Who knows where it will take you? He does!



Just a bit of a Recap


What I've described on this page may seem a little bit mechanical – if you do this, then that will happen. Well, no it's not, because it involves your relationship with the Lord, and it's been about you talking to Him and Him talking to you! That's what this has all been about. That's what faith is all about. To snatch a phrase from Paul's teaching: “faith comes by hearing” (Rom 10:17 ) and you've been doing that.


If you're right back at the beginning of this learning process, OK, it is a bit nervy but it will work because He's there to help and encourage you and lead you into becoming a blessing to other in this practical realm.



But what if….


Yes, we can make mistakes and we can get it wrong, but what I've shared with you has been in small simple stages. God knows how fast you can go and He'll be there for you. In my learning process I once thought I was hearing the Lord tell me a specific amount to send to a person. It turned out that they didn't need it and I think they thought I was crazy. Most of the time though, it's worked out just fine and people have been blessed. Risk the occasional time of not getting it quite right! The Lord still loves you and isn't going to be angry with you. In fact He'll be there to pick you up and take you on. He doesn't give up on us. So, be blessed, go for it. Go back to the beginning and start working on it. Have fun!




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