Some months back I wrote a post that begin like so:
Unless we can come to grips with the idea that a monthly giver might be a lapsed champion, we’ll never understand Transformational Giving.
It’s a crazy idea. But as many crazy ideas are, it’s a biblical one. Check out these words of Jesus from Revelation 2:1-5:
To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:
These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands: I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary. Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
The sixth and final key to growing in generosity is the recognition of this great truth:
Growing in generosity is not about giving more. It is about giving more deeply.
The peril in giving strategically and systematically, then, is that we will in a perfunctory manner, with less than our whole hearts and intentions.
The cure for this peril, however, is not to revert to giving that is sporadic and random; after all, “heart” in the Bible means more than “feeling”.
Instead, the cure is to ensure that each gift we make is first and foremost and offering to God.
Simple suggestions, but ones that work for me in this regard:
- If you give via EFT (i.e., an auto-transfer from your bank account), don’t have your donations all come out on the same day. Spread them throughout the month, and, as the gifts auto-deduct one at a time from your account,
- Offer each one prayerfully to the Lord. To get you started, here’s a list of offertory prayers that you can adapt to your family’s own giving circumstances. (You are going to do this with your family…right?) Pray them with your family each day you make a gift, and as you prepare your offering before you go to church each Sunday.
- If EFT makes you less mindful of your giving, stop giving by EFT. Better to enter heaven with your checks cut than to take the broad information highway which leads to destruction.
- If you give by writing out checks, write out the checks as per usual, but pray over each one using prayers like the ones noted above.
- Call your contact at the ministry to which you’re giving and together pray an offertory prayer with them each month as you give your gift.
- Sing! The doxology (“Praise God from whom all blessings flow/Praise Him all creatures here below”) never ceases to draw me into gratitude and worship. Why not sing as you carry your donations to the mailbox, or as you enter your EFT gifts into your checkbook?
It is not hard to come up with rituals to help you give more deeply.
It is, however, easy to auto-forsake your first love as you seek ways to be more efficient with your time and money.