While we may realize that God loves it when we give and serve Him “cheerfully” or “with gladness,” we don’t always do that, do we? (2 Corinthians 9:7, Psalms 100:2) While Scripture teaches us how not to give — “grudgingly, or of necessity” — it also describes it as our duty (Malachi 3:8).
If you’re tempted to fall into the trap of feeling like giving is a chore, consider what we do with kids when they start dragging their feet or failing to comply with an expectation: We make it a game! Maybe we should be past that kind of motivation, but most of us still get excited by the prospect of a challenge — or a little reward! I once read that “an adult is someone who parents himself,” so maybe we need to treat ourselves a little more like kids and, in the process, renew that cheerful aspect of our giving!
Create a $20 Challenge
While this idea originated from a couple endeavoring to put more into their personal savings, the idea of a $20 challenge could also tie into helping motivate your giving. If you started with $20 (maybe from the “blow category” of your budget, or other extra money), how could you multiply it over a 6- or 12-month period?
Maybe you could find someone else to challenge, and the winner could treat the other person to lunch. If you just wanted to do this on your own, you could keep track of the amount you raised in 6 months and then try to beat it during the next 6 months. The idea is to try to earn extra money, not to achieve a personal savings goal, but to be able to give more generously.
Try a No-Spend Month
The concept of a no-spend month is, perhaps, a little more extreme. It’s not about just giving away extra money that you find a way to earn, but cutting into your normal expenditures in a drastic way. Like all the goal-setting experts encourage, this idea is a time-bound goal with a purpose in view: You’re eliminating any unnecessary expenditures for a month, with the purpose of giving that excess away.
What can you do without — not because it’s wrong, but because there’s something better you can do with your money. Maybe like Jen Hatmaker, author of “7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess,” you’ll decide to make some permanent changes in your life, as result.
Make One Permanent Change
As a follow-up to your no-spend month, hopefully you’ll be more mindful of how many “luxuries” you usually afford yourself. As you come out of that month of extreme cut-backs, you’ll probably enjoy even the small extras, like a candy bar at the checkout or a fast food meal, more than usual. That’s a good thing. But even better is taking that opportunity to not take one of those luxuries back. When you choose an area in which you can continue “Living Simply So Others Can Simply Live”, you’ll enjoy blessings of giving in a more meaningful way.
Continue reading with Part 2.