One of the most popular advice given to church members who are struggling financially is to “give more” or “give till it hurts” or “give a sacrificial offering.” Giving a sacrificial offering, or giving above your means is supposed to activate the spiritual law of ‘sowing and reaping’ into your life, where you receive more than what you put in, and thus be able to pull yourself out of financial trouble. In addition, we are given the example of the widow and her mite, and how she gave all that she had to live on, as someone of great faith and selfless giving (Mark 12:41-44; Luke 21:1-4). Unfortunately however, many are finding out, and sometimes too late, that giving above your means is NOT a strategy for wealth creation.
You are Giving to Get
When you give with the intention of getting it back, you aren’t giving, but making an investment. It’s similar to buying stock in the stock market. You give your stockbroker your money, hoping the stocks you buy will increase in value much more than what you put in. As such then, when you give to get, you are engaging in a financial transaction, hoping that God will see and appreciate what you give, and give you back more than what you put in. The thing is that God knows that you are just giving to get. You aren’t giving from generosity or love, but are giving in order to amass more for yourself. There is nothing wrong with trying to make more money or increasing your inflows, but true giving isn’t about increasing your own personal inflows. It’s about denying yourself of something you want, or could have kept for yourself, so others may benefit. Giving always involve denying yourself something, so others may have, so if you are looking to get something by giving, then you are already in conflict with what it means to give.
Giving From Your Lack Only Creates More Lack
Sacrificial giving is sometimes taught as an investment strategy where the giver gets a personal return on investment. If for example I make a donation to the church, then I should expect that God will bless me with much more than I give away. The tendency therefore is for people who are in debt, or who are struggling in their finances, to feel that their lack of sound finances is due to not giving enough. In an effort to correct their financial situation, many give a sacrificial offering from their meager resources. In most instances though, they fall into greater lack and not less lack, and struggle even more. This is because they are giving from lack, and when you give from lack, it creates more lack. It’s a simple law of mathematics. When you subtract from what you have, you have less – not more. Supernatural math doesn’t kick in just because you gave hoping to see an increase, instead of a decrease. Our faith however is supposed to kick in at this point, where we are believing God to ‘enlarge our borders’ and when that does not happen, we blame ourselves for not having enough faith. When Jesus told the rich young ruler to sell all that he had, and give it to the poor, was there also an attached promise that his finances would increase (Matthew 19:16-30)? Of course not. So why then do we attach a promise of increased material prosperity, when we give away things? I think it has to do with our confusion as to what the law of sowing and reaping means.
The Law of Reciprocity
You might be wondering, “What about Luke 6:38?” Didn’t Jesus say that if we give, it will be given back to us, “good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over?” Isn’t that a good strategy then to get our bills paid? The thing is that Jesus was NOT talking about money in that passage. Nowhere did he mention money. We are the ones who have applied that passage to money. If you read the entire passage in context of the chapter, you will see that Jesus was talking about giving people the benefit of the doubt, and being generous in our expression of kindness, mercy, forgiveness and love. This was a part of the great Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus taught the beatitudes. What we can learn, however, from the Sermon on the Mount is what we give spiritually is given back to us spiritually – the spiritual law of reciprocity. Therefore if we give from a mindset of lack, we receive more of the mindset of lack, but if we give from a mindset of abundance, we receive more of a mindset of abundance – bingo!
The Power to Create Abundance
Not everyone will be rich, and the poor will always be among us (Matthew 26:11). We also know of a lot of rich people who are stingy, and a lot of poor people who are generous. The purpose of giving is not to make you wealthy, but to create a spirit of generosity within you. If you are giving to get, you are not creating a spirit of generosity within, but a spirit of lack. It’s a spirit of lack because you want it back, and you are happy to give it up because you think you are getting it back. Such is a needy mentality created from lack, and not one of generosity. A generous spirit is one created from an abundance mentality. The person with an abundance mentality believes there is an abundant supply of resources on this planet, and that God has already provided for all our needs. The abundance mentality believes that the power to create wealth comes from God, and it’s from these resources we can draw on to give (Deuteronomy 8:18, Philippians 4:19). This is totally opposite to the teaching where you increase your resources by giving from your lack. As stated before, giving from lack only creates more lack, so it you want to have less lack, then you need to attract abundance by having that abundance mindset, where you believe in creating wealth. Wealth creation begins with being a good manager of the resources God has already provided for you, instead of being reckless and mindless about how you manage your money. The tendency is to not pay attention to our money habits until we are hit with a financial crisis, but by then it’s too late, and the damage has already been done. As long as the focus is on lack, then lack will be all that you experience, but if the focus is on abundance then that opens the door for wealth creation, through good management of resources (Matthew 25:21).
Sacrificial Giving Is a Spiritual Investment
Sacrificial giving is a spiritual investment, because one is giving up something physical for something spiritual or ideological. A good example of that is fasting. In fasting, a person forgoes eating in search of some higher spiritual fulfillment. Eating food is a physical need, but sometimes our spiritual and emotional needs can override our physical needs where we lose our appetite for food. The most I have ever fasted for was 24-hours, but I’m always amazed at folks who can fast for days on end. I guess I’m not spiritual enough, right? Fasting however is one example, but giving money can be just as powerful. I was watching the news last week, and they reported that many people were dying climbing Mt Everest. These were folks who willfully, and joyfully forked over thousands of dollars to experience a thrill of a lifetime, which could potentially cause their death. It’s the same way with sacrificial giving. We willfully and joyfully give to experience the spiritual benefits of giving. It feels good when you give to a cause and see results. Schools get built, children receive medical care, and the hungry get fed. None of those things can happen however without some measure of sacrificial giving in either time, money, or both.
Overcome Your Desire to Get, and Then You’ll Receive
The strategy of giving to get is not true giving, but a getting strategy; and because its not a giving strategy, one cannot receive any spiritual benefits. The false can never produce the results of the true. Only true giving produces true receiving, because giving is itself receiving. In order to give though, one has must have something to give. Instead of wanting to give so that you can increase your personal abundance (self-more), flip that around and desire to increase your abundance in order to give (self-less). In addition, when you desire to increase your abundance in order to give, that activates Divine assistance into your life, to help you fix your finances. By changing your desire from that of getting to one of giving, you will receive. Truly, “it’s more blessed to give than receive” (Acts 20:35).
Stop Struggling Financially Today
Stop struggling financially today by activating these spiritual laws into your financial life, by following my five-step debt relief program, which will teach how to manage your money, to be a better steward, and to help you create a mindset of abundance. The lessons in step one of the program are FREE, and students will be invited to join an online support group on Facebook, to provide ongoing education and support. To get started, fill out the form below, and write in the message box the words, FREE, and we will get back to you.