by Pastor Tim Burt
Have you ever been in a financially tight spot? You are not alone. Most everyone has been at some point. What's the godly and right way to respond to the pressure that financial difficulties can bring? Actually, I believe the answer is setting a core value for life that you consistently execute long before you get to that place. There are many places to build character into your life. Being a giver is a character quality that will set you free in ways you could never otherwise know.
When I was a young Christian, I started hearing about the importance of giving and being a giver. Prior to becoming a Christian, I never saw myself as cheap. I think I was reasonably generous. The problem was, I was 24 years old and totally irresponsible with money. I gave away what didn’t even belong to me by bouncing checks and credit card debt.
When I met Renee, I learned quickly that she was very skilled at managing her finances. She taught me how to balance my check book and helped me think through being more prudent in the management of my finances. The Lord helped me in so many ways! Breaking impulsive spending habits was the first. I didn’t realize it was a stronghold in my life that was until I tried to stop. There were times where I almost felt depressed because I couldn't spend money (that I didn't have anyway.) Within a year, I had really started to change how I managed finances. In learning to be prudent with money, I also had to learn to be a giver—a responsible one. I couldn’t spend or give what I did not have. I learned to put tithing at the top of my budget, (not out of legalism or obligation, but out of desire and love for the Lord.) I then learned to live within my means. (Your flesh never feels comfortable with that!) And then along with that, I learned to be a giver.
Renee and I gave and sowed seed. We gave our tithe at church. We bought and gave Bibles to people we shared Jesus with. We gave money to people in need or ministries that spoke to our heart and taught us, (whatever we could and whether the amount we could give seemed insignificant or not.) We also developed an ongoing rule for our lives: if we hadn’t worn or used something for a year (with few exceptions) then we gave it away to someone in need. We sowed a lot!
Knowing and personally experiencing the promise and wisdom of God's Word became a core value of our lives. Proverbs 11:24 NIV says, “One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly (is stingy,) but comes to poverty.” We purposed to become the ones who gave freely! We knew what Jesus promised in Luke 6:38 NLT. “If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving—large or small—it will be used to measure what is given back to you." Yes God promised to give back to us but that was never our motivation for giving. We knew God was trying to teach us how to becomes stewards of what He gave us, AND generous givers that trusted Him in our giving. As 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NKJV) says, "...for God loves a cheerful giver."
The Apostle Paul brought insight to giving where Jesus left off in 2 Corinthians 9:6-11 NLT, saying, “Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each make up your own mind as to how much you should give. Don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. For God loves the person who gives cheerfully. And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, "Godly people give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will never be forgotten." For God is the one who gives seed to the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, He will give you many opportunities to do good, and He will produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched so that you can give even more generously. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will break out in thanksgiving to God.”
Renee and I didn't learn this lesson when we had great amounts of extra discretionary income. We began to practice this when she became a stay-at-home mom and we had cut our income in half. We didn't think this was some get-rich-quick scheme. We had faith that because we had tithed and always given generously, God would provide our needs. When we felt our backs were up against the wall, we put our knees to the floor and thanked God for the promise of His Word. We rejected fear, professed our faith. thanked Him for His grace, and did the best we could in being diligent. God did the “exceeding abundantly beyond what we can ask or think” in our lives in numerous and miraculous ways.
This is a life of faith and as Hebrews 10:38 “The just shall live by faith…” Be a giver and you’ll already know how to trust God and respond to His leading with confidence in times of financial hardship and famine.
2 Corinthians 8:12 (NLT) "Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it
eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have."
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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