to Give? – A Faith-Releasing Explanation
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
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
following are the stages of a process I would recommend to you to
grow in faith for giving:
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.
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:
He loves me – that's why He sent Jesus to die for me (Jn 3:16
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).
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.
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).
I also note that he is gracious and puts up with us experimenting
with faith (Jud 6:36 -40).
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.
Understanding Different Levels of Faith
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!
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.”
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%?
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.
Realise the World You've Come From
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.
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!).
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.
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
Start at the Beginning of the Month
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.
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.
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?
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).
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.
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
we've got to start somewhere. Let's decide to give away that £20
at the beginning of the month!
what you do: you pray! Yes, that is the most crucial part of all of
this; you talk to God about it.
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.”
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.
Check it out along the way
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.
Check out the End of the Month
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!
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!
Step it up a notch!
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.
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
gracious! You've given £50 away this month, half of that tithe
Keep stepping it up
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.
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?
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
Going for Gold!
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?
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?
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?
Don't let this affect the giving pattern you've established already.
Pray and ask the Lord to stretch your income so that you can bless
Ask Him to make you sensitive to needs in people around you.
Watch and listen!
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.
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
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!
Watch for the Test
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.
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!
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!
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!
a bit of a Recap
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.
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
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!