The idea for this blog came in response to reading the book, Crazy Love by Francis Chan. In chapter 8 I believe, he tells many stories of Christians and extravagant giving. This could mean time or resources such as money. Since my wife and I have created a budget for ourselves in order to reach our financial goals, this made me think.
I say extravagant because this is beyond a regular tithe one might give to the church. Extravagant giving, to me, is simply giving beyond the norm, the minimum, or whatever you feel required to give. It could be giving out of your surplus or just finding it within what you already have. Extravagant giving can be the hardest thing to do, especially if we already give a regular tithe. Nobody says you must give to this mission or this homeless person, this kind of giving has to be a personal decision made by you.
44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. – Acts 2:44-45
There are 2 main scenarios I see in order to extravagantly give while on a budget.
1. Making the sacrifice
In most cases, I don’t think extra giving causes you to break your budget. When the Lord is calling you or even if you just feel compelled, find a way to give. For those not expecting to give, this means sacrificing other parts of your budget. The level of sacrifice will vary for each individual, for some this means less fun activities and for others, it might mean a smaller grocery budget (aka. Ramen). I believe God honors your sacrifice and sometimes he is the one calling you into it.
2. Adding giving into your budget
This is the approach for all you planners, including myself. That is, to make a category in your budget, just for giving beyond your tithe. Yes, this requires some sacrifice, but the big difference is you will be prepared. This method is not as glamorous as spontaneous and sacrificial giving, but as long as you have the right heart about giving, I see this approach as equal. I would even suggest if you don’t end up using this money in a particular month, carry it over to the next month so that you have a savings of money ready to be given out.
Does giving even make a difference?
I wrestle with this question all the time, I mean, I’m sure somebody else will give the few dollars I could give right now. Another excuse I like is; my giving is not in the budget. It is so easy for my budget to be a cop out, protecting me from giving up more of my money. When really, budget or not, there is some sort of sacrifice that has to be made, making the cost of giving ultimately the same. I don’t tell you these things as commands, but to tell you what I struggle with and what I want to avoid in the future.
One last point I want to make about this, is that giving is not limited to money. We have so many resources to give that we may not be aware of. So a great way to give on a budget, is to simply give what you already have. For instance, Katie and I had many leftover blankets from our December wedding. This led to us donating most of them to a place like Goodwill and then we kept a few in our cars just in case we came across somebody in need. In any case though, always offer prayer because it is free to give and can do more than your money ever will.
There it is, I’ve given you my plan to have a lose grip on my possessions. I sincerely hope to improve in this area because it is part of being a Christian, as mentioned in James 1:27. I don’t mean in a religious, you have to at these times, kind of way. I want to get to a point in my life where I just want to give and if the Lord is calling me to do so, I don’t think twice about it. That’s my dream, that’s my plan, God knows the rest.