by Becca Christensen
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:7
I took Financial Peace University at Grace and I’ve recently finished paying off all my debts except for my home (which is going to take more than a few months of hard work). One of the concepts from Dave Ramsey’s program that I love is that he encourages you to be financially responsible and secure so you can give! I love the idea of giving as a motivation for why we should live below our means and be debt free, and I feel grateful I caught this vision at a fairly young age (26), granting me the blessing of living a generous life for years to come.
When I first determined I wanted the Lord of my life to also be the Lord of my finances, it was a rocky start. Picture my 24-year-old self in DSW saying prayers that went a little something like this, “Dear God, I know that I’ve been called to give my first and my best to you…but if I’m being really honest here, I’d like to spend your share of my, I mean your money, on these shiny red BCBG heels. I can think of at least ten outfits I could wear with them…But, I’m not going to, so you’re going to have to help me stick with this resolve. Oh, and I’m sorry that I’d rather buy shoes than give to your church. I know that’s a pretty crummy way to show my gratitude for all you’ve given me. But, I’m trying here, I promise.”
I have thought hundreds of times of all the “fun” things I could do with the percent of money I give back to the church. Selfish, shallow, non-kingdom promoting things that I would love and enjoy. Clearly, Satan knows I have a weakness for retail. Have you ever had the urge to “borrow” money from your tithe for “good things?” If so, you will find no judgment here. I’ve internally debated using my tithe on everything from goodies for my bible study to buying a non-Christian’s lunch because that’s working towards witnessing, right?
I’ve figured out the root of this issue in my own life centers on my need to be in control. I am a control freak, through and through. For many years I believed only I knew how best to spend my money, so I kept control over it. But now I know I serve the God who created the universe as well as me, which should give me more than enough confidence to take a hands-off approach to how He handles and uses the money I give back. So why do I struggle?
I share this with you to encourage you that you’re not alone. But I also want you to be encouraged that the Lord does answer prayers. Throughout this experience, I’ve prayed that as I grew closer to being debt free that I wouldn’t just tithe and give a few offerings, but that I would look for opportunities to live generously. Ultimately, I want the Lord to change my heart and give me the desire to give even if it means going without something I want to meet someone else’s need.
It’s with great excitement that I say that God has been chipping away at my heart and has renewed my energy to live both generously and at times even sacrificially. God is good. I have continued to see the Lord’s provision in my own life and He has blessed me through the giving experience. I know the Lord is only beginning what will be a process (since I still want a new pair of shoes with every paycheck), but as I give my tithe faithfully, I know the Lord is hearing my heart and changing the desires of it.
If you are looking for God’s freedom in your finances, consider attending the Financial Freedom One Day workshop on Saturday, Oct. 22. The cost is $15. Click here to register.