By Kelly Carr
This issue is about financial freedom. Usually that term brings to mind budgets and getting out of debt. But for me, saving and spending very little comes naturally. My financial struggle is generosity.
I am a tither, yet going beyond that is my hurdle. I think it’s OK to be a spendthrift when it’s about my own wish list, but God has been placing another message on my heart—if I have the resources, I don’t need to be a miser about giving to others.
My friend is so generous it’s humbling. Her birthday and Christmas gift list is a mile long. There is no end to the people she buys gifts for. She doesn’t buy cheap gifts either. Even people who are newer friends or acquaintances—if she decides to purchase something for them, they get the best. And she doesn’t even chintz on the wrapping. It’s quality paper, bows, and bags that have been purchased with the specific individuals in mind.
My husband is generous when no one is looking. I cannot calculate the items purchased for both friends and strangers who didn’t know it was from him. (He’s probably mad that I’m revealing his anonymous actions here in print.) When my penny-pinching brain starts to be concerned about how his benevolence will affect our family bank account, Steve reminds me that it’s God’s money, and if he was compelled to give then God must want it used in those ways. Sure enough, I look at the numbers and see that God continues to provide for our needs. He gives us plenty, plus more to share.
My friend’s and my husband’s examples have helped change my mindset. So did a challenge at our church last year. I mentioned in a previous editorial that 2013 was declared the Year of Creativity in our congregation. Part of that challenge was for us to be creative in how we gave to others.
Somehow when it was a call to spiritual growth, I felt compelled and even freed to do what I was normally too stingy to consider. Anytime something happened last year when I would usually fret—if I needed to spend a little more on a gift or drive a little farther and use more gas to help a friend or feel the urge to buy someone’s lunch—I pushed aside my economical worries and told myself I needed to be creative in my generosity. God had provided enough to spare.
One surprising result—I had fun giving. I gave without dwelling on every dollar, trusting that God provided extra for me to be a blessing to others. There were many little ways God urged me to give, and he pushed me to some bigger acts of generosity as well. Even though it’s no longer a church-wide challenge, I’m trying to keep my newfound giving habits intact.
Maybe you don’t have the same struggle as I do. Perhaps you’ve always been eager to share with others. I commend you and thank you for being a role model, even if you don’t realize that you are.
But if you’re in the same boat as I am, I hope you’ll strive to adopt a different perspective in the coming months. Consider it my challenge to you. Try giving. You’ll be surprised at what God does to your heart in the process.