Why We Don't... Give

by Peter Swann

In this second part of my “Why We Don’t” blog series, I’d like to address a sensitive topic: giving.

For some of us, giving is an exhilarating privilege. But for many of us, it’s simply overwhelming. We feel like we can barely keep our head above water financially, or we may be unsure of just how to handle our finances. There are many reasons why we may struggle with giving.

The Bible is replete with references to giving, and we know why: it is a direct reflection of our hearts. Your spending will always reveal where your heart is.

It’s a stunning indictment of us, then, that we tend to cringe when we give money away. It says something about our heart, about our mindset. Yet many of us don’t know where to start to counter that. Today I’d like to suggest that we begin by understanding exactly why we have so much trouble giving. The better we understand that, the better we can attack it.

There are many reasons giving may be a challenge, but here are three key ones:

1. We think we own.

Our money is not our money, and if we grasp that, everything will change. All we have is God’s, so we are just stewards. We aren’t owners, we are managers. That’s why it’s a delight to give money away – He’s letting us in on His master plan for blessing the world and advancing His Kingdom.

2. We lack understanding.

At Hope, we are blessed with deep transparency. But three areas continue to hinder us: parenting, sex, and money. We feel especially vulnerable and inadequate in those areas. But the power is in the secret, so respectful transparency is the key. It’s time to seek wise counsel, open up our finances, and do all we can do to be the best stewards we can of what God has entrusted to us.

3. We fear the future.

When we think we own, fear cripples our spending. But when we know we manage, we also trust the One whose money it is… since He also controls the future. This doesn’t mean we disregard sound wisdom, but it does mean that fear no longer cripples us. Our God is sovereign, and with joy of heart we’ll spend His money by His leading for His glory.

I expect one day for God to hold us to great account for how we have spent His money. And we will feel the weight of being both too cautious and not joyful enough. What a privilege it is to advance His Kingdom through giving His resources! It ought to be a joy to give even sacrificially – He’s letting us in on His work.

Our prayer to God, then, is not: “How much do I have to give?” That reflects our old, ownership-driven, wisdom-limited, fear-based model.

God, the owner, has instead given you and me an exhilarating new question: “How much will you let me give?”