Financial generosity can be one of the most difficult habits to begin, but can be one of the most rewarding habits of all. "It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35)."
Giving begins with an understanding that all we have is from God and belongs to him. It begins with the understanding that we are stewards of what he has given us and will be accountable for how we have used his resources.
2 Corinthians 5:20 states that we are ambassadors. We are God's representatives on earth, sent to share God's love with others in tangible ways and bring his peace to earth. As his ambassadors, we can use our money to bless the world as God wants to bless it.
As pastor and author Randy Alcorn says, "Money is a great servant but an awful master." When we give, we make money a servant to help other people and organizations.
Many times, however, money is our master. We let our money control us. Whether we're mastered by debt or mastered by our lust for more, we can easily become money's slave. Money becomes our master when we can't control our spending and when we hoard our savings.
Giving is a habit that is meant to free us from slavery to money. There is freedom from fear when we learn to give and trust God to provide for us. There is freedom from our lusts when we learn to give and make our money a servant instead of our master. There is freedom from selfishness when we give and experience the joy that comes from blessing others. "God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7)," and giving brings joy to others and yourself.
Consider what passions and causes God has put on your heart and find a worthy organizations to financially support. God has given you those passions for a reason.
Prayerfully decide on one or two things to give to methodically. Set up online giving so that you're giving on a weekly or monthly basis. This helps you commit to give on a percentage basis each month rather than just giving what is left at the end of the week or month.
Give whenever you see a need. Set aside some margin in your budget each month to give spontaneously or be prepared to sacrifice something in a month where you feel led to give spontaneously. Listen to the Holy Spirit and give joyfully whenever he puts something or someone on your heart.
Here are some ideas about how to commit to giving this year.
Married couples and families should make giving decisions together as a family.