Living a Generous Life Requires Wisdom
Often, when I talk about sacrificial giving, I get great questions like these:
How do we set boundaries?
How do we keep people from taking advantage of us?
How do we stay healthy?
These are valid questions. The honest truth is that when we get intentional about living generously, we soon discover there is an ocean of need. Jesus told us very plainly that we will never get to the bottom of poverty:
"You will always have the poor among you." Matthew 26:11
If every person reading this gave away every dollar they had, we wouldn't make the smallest dent in the problem of suffering that exists in our world. So if we can't fix it, then why try?
I think our focus here has to be on our relationship with Jesus, not people. In our family, we give in order to know God more intimately. Period. When we give in a way that is sacrificial, we must trust Him to be our Provider. We are no longer putting our faith in incomes, employers, bank accounts or ourselves. We are trusting God. Our goal is fulfilling the first command, to Love God with every part of lives. Of course, the second command is like it: Love People, but let us not put these commandments in the wrong order. If we are existing to love and serve people, we will quickly become depleted. The need is too great. If we are existing to know and love and serve God, we will grow in intimacy with Him, and our neighbors will reap the benefits of that relationship and service.
Having boundaries and choosing wisely where, when and how we give is IMPERATIVE. We're all raising families, giving our best in our careers, maintaining homes and marriages and friendships. All of those good things require an investment of time, money and energy. We recognize that much of the ministry we do for the Kingdom of God happens within the relationships we had before we started this journey of sacrificial giving. We don't give to every organization or person that crosses our paths. When we started, we researched six organizations, committed to three and gave it six months before revisiting whether or not we wanted to continue investing there. We have stuck with some of the places and we've adjusted and chosen others as we've noticed changing needs in our community.
Like most of what the Bible prescribes, this is not at all easy, but it is perfectly straightforward. When things get confusing and tricky, go back to the Word. What it tells us to do is often difficult, but rarely complicated. Proverbs is a great place to start. Read it every day. It promises wisdom and never disappoints.
When we start to have questions around our giving...
...we find our answers by going to prayer and to the Word.
Do you have suggestions about living generously with wisdom? Share them in the comments! I'd love to hear!