Cultivating Generosity: Four Ways to Share Blessings, Even When Money Seems Scarce

In our journey of life, the pursuit of financial success can sometimes feel like a dog forever chasing its tail – an unending cycle of aspiration and struggle. Often, success arrives subtly, not in dramatic leaps, but in gentle strides that we barely notice. Perhaps it’s the comfort of meeting house payments on time, or the vacation you’ve been dreaming of finally becoming a reality. Maybe it’s the steady growth of your small business or those incremental promotions that have quietly doubled your income over the years.

However, as our financial comforts increase, it’s easy to unintentionally allow our expenses to creep up, without considering the parallel growth of our giving. Here are four perspectives on how to ensure our generosity keeps pace with our successes:

REFLECT ON YOUR PERCEPTION OF WEALTH

When you’re financially comfortable, it’s essential to ponder your giving habits. However, our definition of “comfortable” is subjective. A 2011 Gallup poll revealed that Americans perceived they needed double their current income to be considered rich. This perception can shift drastically when viewed from a global perspective. For instance, the “one-percenters” in the U.S. earn over $500,000 annually or own assets exceeding five million dollars. However, in the global context, earning over $32,000 per year places one in the “one percent.”

DIRECT YOUR GIVING WITH PURPOSE

Beyond contributions to your local church, a wealth of opportunities exist to impact the community around you. Global missions, local schools, crisis pregnancy centers, children in poverty, struggling single mothers, refugees fleeing conflict — the list goes on. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and say, “I can’t tackle every issue.” Yet, while it’s true we can’t solve all the world’s problems, we are accountable for making a difference where we can.

God has given each of us unique passions for specific needs within the Church and the world. Reflect on the issues that stir your heart, and let these passions guide your giving.

AIM FOR LASTING IMPACT

C.S. Lewis, in “Mere Christianity,” writes, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.” With this wisdom in mind, consider the lasting impact of your giving. While our individual contributions might seem insignificant against the world’s vast needs, remember the long-term influence of a ministry spreading the gospel or helping people escape poverty. Weigh this against temporary earthly gains, and the heavenly treasures that await us.

ACTUALLY, GIVE

Sometimes, we can get lost in the process of researching causes, aligning our passions, and planning to give, but then falter at the actual act of giving. To overcome this inertia, carve out time this week to ponder giving opportunities. Then, enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member to hold you accountable for following through. It is in the act of giving that we find the greatest joy and fulfillment.