In discussing stewardship and specifically our giving of money, there are several questions every believer must wrestle through to become a generous giver. One question is “Can I Give?”. In other words, have I created margin in my budget where I have set aside monies for God’s kingdom? For most of us, the answer is unfortunately “No”. Our lifestyle choices have us living beyond our means leaving zero or negative margin. In some cases, we have made poor choices (heaven knows I have at times), in other situations, stuff happens (medical emergencies, loss of job, loss of value in home, mortgage rate changes, car failures, etc.) causing us to get behind. Regardless of the cause, the result is the same — no margin and no funds for Kingdom work.
This is not the place God desires for each of us– He calls his disciples to be generous givers (Matt. 19:21; Lk. 16:9, 12:33; 2 Cor. 8:7, 9:11; 1 Tim. 6:18-19). As your pastors, our heart is that our people develop life DISCIPLINES that allow for the generous giving God intends of us: Discipline to budget, discipline to communicate about a spending plan, discipline to examine our heart and materialistic tendencies, (wants vs. needs), discipline to track expenses, discipline to not covet, and discipline of praying for transformation of our heart.
How hard is the first discipline of budgeting ? Studies show that 20% of families claim to have a budget where they actually establish a spending plan. Of this group, only half of them actually stay committed to the plan.
A disciple must be DISCIPLINED to give. The act of giving demonstrates our growth in Christlikeness. This will start with having a real plan for spending including our offering for the Lord. If you lack the tools to start, consider joining the Ramsey FPU class starting Sept.12th. Need accountability? Reach out to someone in your Life Group or mentor and commit to meeting regularly and jointly hold yourself accountable in your spending and giving.