In so many things, I’ve found we must give it away to keep it. This includes our finances. Furthermore, there is really no benefit to hoarding our resources. Giving is a part of my lifestyle and here is where I’ll share some tips if you are interested in upping your giving game.
Give & Receive
Before I get into some tips on giving, let me share a picture of how giving and receiving is necessary for life. Have you ever heard of the Dead Sea in Israel? Well, the Dead Sea is aptly named.
The reason that the dead sea is dead is that while it has many rivers flowing into it, it has no river flowing out. It takes and takes but never gives out. The only way that the Dead Sea gives out water is via evaporation which leaves a ton of salt behind.
Essentially nothing can survive in the Dead Sea because of this high salt content.
What if humans are the same way in that we become dead if we only take in without ever giving out?
Ways to Give
There are many different ways in which we can be gracious with our resources. I’m breaking it down into 9 areas so you can jump to the ones where you feel you are able to participate in:
- Missional work
- Kind words
Tithes & Offerings
This is something most Christians are familiar with as it is biblical. Tithing literally means giving 1/10 of your earnings to your local church. Typically, tithes are used for the operation of the church. The math of tithing is simple to understand.
Of course, tithing is a matter of faith. I personally was convicted to start tithing when I still had lack. As I was disciplined in paying off my debt, I also was tithing. Through the process, I’ve learned to become a better steward of my money.
If you attend a local church and want to know how they use the tithes and offerings, consider attending a business/financial meeting where the members will vote on the upcoming year’s budget.
An offering is a gift or a contribution above a tithe. Many people give offerings to their church for things such as mission trips, fundraisers, church plants or other non-operational functions.
The word donation encompasses many other forms of tax-deductible giving. There is a whole host of charities that are set up to provide you a receipt for your tax-deductible donation. However, receiving a tax-deduction should never be the motivation behind giving.
Giving is a matter of the heart and I recommend watching this video by Rosemary, a woman I interviewed for a series on my blog. Rosemary shares why she and her husband chose to give while they were still in debt. Moreover, she talks about giving as a heart issue.
I’m certain that we all know of charities that we believe in and feel passionately about their mission. Once you find one you are interested in donating to, check out their financials.
The financial statements of all 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations are public knowledge. You can request to see their form 990 from the IRS or from the actual non-profit organization. However, there are some websites that provide this information as well:
Lastly, if you are a faithful donator, you can take advantage of a Donor Advised Fund (DAF). A DAF is a charitable investment account that grows tax-free. I’ve yet to open a DAF so I’m going to refer you to two ladies who are currently doing this and have written articles about it:
If you are still in the process of paying off debt and don’t have extra money to give, perhaps you can donate some of your time.
I’ve found there is no shortage of people in need. I tend to give my time in helping women in recovery from addiction/alcoholism, but there are a plethora of ways to give of your time. Here are several ideas:
- Walking dogs at a local animal shelter
- Training guide dogs
- Helping at a homeless shelter
- Giving rides to the elderly
- Meals on Wheels
- Hospice work
The list goes on and on. Volunteer work can be some of the most rewarding work and especially if you are serving in an area you feel passionate about.
Because I still work full-time, I consider my time a very valuable resource. When I set aside my time to help others, initially it feels like a sacrifice (just keepin’ it real). However, every time I walk away feeling like the one who’s blessed.
There are all kinds of mission opportunities in and outside of this country. Most churches are involved in some type of missional work. Typically, you raise the money to cover your expenses since you are donating your time.
It’s a great way to connect with others and get off your little bubble. I guarantee if you help a people group who is less privileged, you’ll walk away with a new sense of gratitude.
Even if you have a convincing argument of why you don’t have extra money or time to donate, you can still be kind. We all interact with people every day in one way or another. Kind words can go a long way.
Think about the times you call into a customer service line. Maybe you have to wait for 20 minutes before you actually get a live person to talk to. By the time you get a person on the line, you are frustrated. I get it but don’t take it out on that person. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the first one to actually treat them kindly. I’m writing this one as much for me as I am you. 😉
Let’s face it, sometimes life is tough. To be completely honest sometimes life just sucks! None of us are immune from it.
I know when I’m going through something tough, having others encourage me makes the burden a little bit lighter. By being supportive and/or exhorting others around you, you are living as a generous person.
Now here is something we can all do! Furthermore, smiling is a universal language that can brighten anyone’s day.
Moreover, smiling can make you feel better.
This could technically fall under time but I decided to list it separately. Maybe you are on your way to an appointment and you see an elderly couple shoveling snow off their driveway. Wouldn’t stopping and offering your help be a nice way to give service?
Perhaps you have family members who need assistance. By serving them, you are being a giving person.
If you have children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, godchildren or others you mentor, you have the opportunity to leave them a legacy. Sure this can mean leaving them an inheritance or financial security. Although, it can also simply mean not being a burden and leaving them a financial mess to clean up.
Moreover, the lessons you impart to those you have influence over is also leaving them a legacy. So be cognizant of what you are teaching the children in your life.
So there you have it, 9 different ways you can practice being a generous person and pour into others.
Many years ago I saw the most spectacular painting at the Cleveland Museum of Art titled Heaven and Hell. At the bottom of the painting people stepping on each other or pushing others down to try to make their way to the top. That was hell.
However, the painting transitioned to people lifting others up above themselves. This was heaven.
I’ve never forgotten that image.
I’m constantly reminded that by being a giving person, in a very small way, I help make this world a better place. Invariably, I walk away feeling like the one who is blessed.
So how about you – are you ready to up your giving game?