Charitable Giving [How and Why]

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There are tons of articles about saving money written by those of us who do financial posts.  We often write about paying off debt.  We definitely write about doing a budget.  We don’t often discuss what I believe is a crucial part of any financial plan: planned giving.  It may seem very backwards to give away some of your money in order to thrive financially.  You may even think I have just completely lost my mind.  I encourage you to bear with me and hear me out.

Why should we give?

The first question that needs to be addressed is why give money.

When my wife Mandy and I were first married we were giving to our church, but without any plan or structure.  We would throw in a dollar (or five) when the basket went by.  There was no thought about it or planning ahead of time.  It’s like we were surprised everytime the collection basket came by.

A year or so into our marriage, we were challenged by a guest mission at our church to start tithing.  It caused us to really take a look at ourselves and we knew we should give.  We also wanted to understand why we should give.  Through various sources, we came to learn what the Bible had to say about giving our treasure.

Let’s take a look at the following verses for the answer:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” – Genesis 1:27

Combining these verses shows us exactly why we’re called to give!  If we were made in God’s image, we’re made to be just like Him.  He is a giver.  He gave the life of His one and only Son for us.  Now, that is giving. Taking these concepts into consideration we can see how we are most happy and fulfilled when we are more like Him and we’re more like Him when we give.

How should we give?

The second question that needs to be addressed is how to give money.

What does the Bible have to say about how we’re to give?  First, it says to give “first fruits”.  What that means is right off the top.  Give first, then do the rest of your budget.  Mandy and I used to pay all of our bills, then see if we had enough to give.  We realized that we were totally looking at it backwards.  Now we place giving on the top line of our budget form, and I encourage my clients to do the same.

Many people give 10% of their income.  So, if you make $4,000 per month, your giving for the month would be $400.  I know for us it was pretty scary to think about giving a full 10% or our income – that’s alot of money – but we’ve been doing it for a long time now and have been so blessed because of it.

Matt’s note: Betsy and I have a strong testimony for our giving, please read it to draw additional encouragement to give consistently.

Mandy and I realize now that giving is a sign of trust that God will provide, regardless of your situation.  In the past we would often tell people that we trusted God, but putting it into practice was a much harder step of faith.  We have seen many blessings since we started tithing almost eight years ago.  The best blessing of all is that the practice of giving is constantly drawing us closer to God.  That makes us each a better spouse, parent, friend, and overall person.

I would love to hear your stories about giving, please share them below.

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