Why don’t we give like we should, like we want to? Just like any “yes” in life, giving means saying “no” to some other things. By contrast, when we’re saying “no” to giving, we’re simultaneously saying “yes” to some other things. Lesser things.
Before we can change and become greater givers, we have to evaluate which enemy of giving is causing us to say “no.” But identifying an enemy isn’t enough. We have to be willing to do the hard work it takes to defeat whatever gets in the way of our achieving our goals — in this case, being able to say “yes” to the kind of giving we know we’re called to do.
Enemy #1: Greed
Yuck. I don’t like that word, either. It sounds, well, ugly. And it is. The ugly head of greed and discontentment does more than keep us from giving: It keeps us from enjoying what we have.
It’s been said that true wealth isn’t about having what you want, but in wanting what you have. Contentment is not tied to a certain number of possessions or standard of living, but it’s tied to a grateful heart that is satisfied with God.
When we’re obsessed with having the latest, keeping up with other people, or simply trying to satisfy our own covetous hearts, we’re feeding an ungrateful spirit. Instead, we can learn to appreciate the many material blessings that we have, as well as the many grace drops we’ve been given that money cannot buy.
Enemy #2: Debt
While this may be tied to our greed and discontent, it can be a separate issue. (For instance, you may have debt due to someone else’s poor choices or due to medical bills you couldn’t avoid.) Whatever the reason, debt can have a crippling effect on a person’s ability to give generously, and we’re robbing ourselves of the joy of giving when we remain in debt unnecessarily.
While some debt may be insurmountable, most of it could be paid down much more quickly by setting goals and making temporary sacrifices to achieve those long-term goals. Maybe a second job, a smaller home, or an extremely frugal lifestyle could make the difference. Like any goal, you need to make sure it’s a “SMART” one:
If you’re visual, you may want to make a chart where you can see your progress. Having an accountability partner that helps you keep on track can be helpful, as well, and rewarding yourself along the way can be motivating, too.
Enemy #3: Bad Habits
Taking strides toward eliminating debt will only take you so far, if you continue bad habits like buying things on credit that you can’t afford. So many Americans make payments routinely – to the point that they don’t see saving up and paying cash as an option, never mind going without something they desire.
If having credit cards makes that too easy for you, maybe using only cash — which runs out a lot more quickly than your credit — would help you break the cycle of spending more than you actually have.
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To learn more about how eGiving.com’s web-based tools can help your ministry accomplish its vision, visit our website at www.eGiving.com or contact us toll free by calling (888) 780-4483.
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