How often has that thought passed through your mind?
“If only I had more money, then I would…”
I wonder how you would finish that sentence.
Save? Buy? Give?
I feel that the last one, give, would fall into that category for most of us. If I only had more money I would give to this charity. I would support that cause. I would give to the work of the church. I would fix the world. Maybe all of the above.
I have discovered that, as people, it is very unlikely that we will make a significant change in our character overnight. More often than not we are unable to just flick a switch and start doing something that we haven’t done before. Have you ever heard someone say, “I could give it up if I wanted to.” Be it smoking, excessive drinking, eating junk food or anything that isn’t good for us. We feel like we can modify our behaviour in an instant and pay no attention to the habits that we have formed over the years. But to make a change takes effort. It takes discipline and it takes time.
Want to be generous?
At some level, I believe we all want to give back and invest in something that is bigger than ourselves. But we can’t just flick a switch and start giving millions of dollars away when we retire…
When we arrive at certain milestones in life, be it a better paying job, a significant birthday, a change in social status, retirement or winning the lotto, if we haven’t put things into place to become the person we want to be, then we will be the same person we were before. That might not sound too bad but it means that the aspirations we have will never be reached if we don’t take steps in the direction we want to go. If you are not generous with your money now, you will not be when you have more.
I see this philosophy at work in the parable of the three servants in Matthew 25. Jesus tells a story about a master who gives his servants money to manage. The first one gets a certain amount, the second one receives less than half of that, and the third one receives a tenth of what the first guy got. The instructions were clear, look after it as if it was your own.
The first guy invested and doubled his money, the second guy did the same thing, but the one with the least amount was so caught up in what little he had, he hid it so that he wouldn’t lose it. He was afraid. The master was happy with the first two servants and entrusted them with more, but he was furious with the third guy because he didn’t even try. So the master took away the money he entrusted to him and gave it all to the first guy. I find it interesting that the master didn’t say ‘oh, you must not have had enough money, let me give you some more so you can do better next time.’ He just took the money away. The reason? How you behave when you have a little is exactly how you behave when you have a lot. It doesn’t matter how much you have; it is what you do with it.
Generosity breeds generosity.
What does all this mean?
If we ever think that being generous will be easier when we have more money, we are kidding ourselves.
So, if you want to be a generous person and give back and you aren’t currently giving, don’t wait, start now. Start small but be consistent and build a habit. Then if you start to earn more, give more. So when you become rich and famous, or win lotto, or somehow come into a large amount of money, giving back is ingrained and you don’t give it a second thought.
You can give to worthy charities, and the church and fix the world beginning now.