How much money do you give away?  Who do you give it to?  Why do you give it?  How much should you be giving?  Do I give when I’m getting out of debt?  What is a tithe and what is an offering?

Questions fly fast around the issue of giving, like bees circling a hive in summer time.  It doesn’t help when we have opportunistic preachers promising this and that if you’ll simply make a “faith pledge” to their ministries.   It doesn’t help when we are so deep in debt we are barely scraping by anyway.

But establishing giving as a part of your life is vitally important.  I posted earlier about the benefits of giving, which are numerous.  Furthermore, it’s what we’re called to do.  It’s not really a suggestion, but a command.

The command to give is one of the great paradoxes of Scripture.  It’s clear that those who give will “prosper,” but how does it make any sense that you’ll prosper by giving money away?  With our natural understanding, we ought to be clinging more tightly to money, not letting any get away from us, including that through giving.

But in reality it doesn’t work that way.  The more money we let go of, the more can flow into our possession.

Dave Ramsey taught me a lot about giving.  Namely he helped me understand that we are not commanded to give because:

God needs our money.

The church needs our money.

We’re commanded to give because we need it.

God himself is a giver (John 3:16 anyone?) – it’s part of his nature.  James 1:17 tells us, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

We’re called to give because it changes us.  Every time we give we are formed a little bit more into God’s image; it’s heart maintenance.

And every time we give it reminds us that we don’t own the money we have.  We’re managing it, for God, who really owns it all!  It gets easier to give when you realize you’re giving away someone else’s money, too!  :-)

So make regular, intentional giving part of your life.  Build it into your budget, and start somewhere.  Plan to give at least some small percentage of your income away – not just as the holidays approach, but always.  It will change who you are into something much greater.