As Christians, we know God is our ultimate source of provision. For many, the past few years have been a season of shrinking: shrinking incomes, shrinking jobs, shrinking retirement accounts, shrinking consumer confidence, and—as any pastor can tell you—shrinking giving.
And where giving is concerned, certainly no one is happy about a decline. Pastors nationwide are definitely fatigued over constantly straining ministry budgets, and those feeling pinched in the pews certainly aren't thrilled to give less.
I've found that most of us want to give more. As a financial stewardship pastor, I've prayed with a lot of people who are grieved about their giving. Even the unemployed—some with no income at all—can feel wrecked when they don't write a tithe check because there's nothing to tithe on.
That's rare, though. To be honest, most of us could give more if we simply plan for it and make room for it. For every bona fide broke person who really wants to give more, there are 10 others with unaffordable car payments and daily coffee shop and restaurant habits lamenting that they cannot afford to give.
Most of us are somewhere in the middle. We're pinched, but with some fresh ideas and a little financial creativity, we can open our wallets as wide as our hearts.
Giving should be fun. It should bring joy to your heart. "God loves a cheerful giver," concludes a great passage we all should remember in 2 Cor. 9:6-7.
These verses also say if we sow sparingly we will reap sparingly, but if we sow bountifully we will enjoy bountiful returns.
And even if your bottom line doesn't feel bountiful, you can give bountifully and stretch your contributions with some creative thinking. You can:
- Free up extra cash so you are indeed giving more.
- Identify ways the church or ministry can save money.
- Get inspired by the fact that a penny saved really is a penny earned.
- Do work that the church might otherwise have to pay to have done.
Here are some examples in each of these categories to help you be a blessing to others while minding your bottom line.
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