Starting a new business venture is fun. It’s hard work, but it’s super fun. I’ve put half of the sweat into forming a new business venture that has a ton of promise for our household income, team member income, and our clients. But perhaps the most refreshing exercise, in terms of the mindsets of the partners involved in the venture, was the amount of time that we put into planning how we were going to give back and to whom we planned to give.
Our discussions about giving happened way before we signed an operating agreement for our venture…even before we wrote our business plan! Giving is an important topic and spiritual discipline in my household and it was refreshing to see that my potential business partner at the time had a heart for giving too.
Giving (or giving back) should be a central motivation for every individual, family, and organization. Money isn’t the answer to all of the world’s problems, but it can certainly help in many situations.
If your bank account statements were released for public view, what would people say about your giving?
In my reflection on giving, I had several thoughts on the topic. Here they are:
1. God is the giver of all good things. Every good thing that you have is from Him. Giving is an important part of being a good steward of what your Creator has given you.
2. If you’re giving or donating money or items, that means you HAVE something to give. You should have a posture of gratitude when you give.
3. Giving doesn’t only involve money! Time is perhaps our most precious resource. Therefore, giving your time and talents to a worthy cause could be more fruitful than giving money.
4. Don’t give like a robot, putting no thought or passion into your giving. The heart and intentionality behind giving is what makes it great. This doesn’t mean that automating giving is wrong. I just wanted to remind you of the importance of having your heart and mind engaged with the act of giving.
5. Don’t give begrudgingly! Who wants to receive something from someone who is grumpy about it? Give with joy! Happy that you’re able to help someone and that you had something to give.
6. Giving isn’t only for the rich or wealthy. Remember the poor woman in the temple who Jesus pointed out to His disciples? She gave her final few cents to live on to the Lord. In God’s economy, she had given more than all of the rich people giving before and after her. Perhaps I'm inferring here, but it seems like the poor widow’s giving that day showed her faith in God’s provision, her heart for others, and godly character.
7. Who or what you give to is really important. You must must must be really discerning when making decisions about giving. Do your homework on the person or organization because there are a lot of evil people out there who want your money for their ungodly schemes and scams.
8. Teach others to give. Whether it’s a spouse, child, sister, brother, niece, nephew, friend, or neighbor, teach someone how to give and the blessings associated with it. The best way to teach someone how to give is by doing it yourself…not in a showy manner; giving in secret is indeed more genuine and rewarding. But honest transparency about your diligent giving in private conversations (hopefully with guidance by the Holy Spirit in the specific details that you disclose) is a good thing!
A final note for my friends who follow Jesus: Our Lord said it best, “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” - Luke 12:32-34
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