And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. (Hebrews 13:16)
Yesterday, we talked about practicing generosity. As followers of Christ, we are called to be generous with what we have been given. You might be thinking, “I want to be able to give, but I have so much debt that I don’t have the margin to give.” It is true that generosity is hindered by excessive debt. If you want to become the giving people who God wants you to be, you have to deal with the issue of excessive debt.
Today, I want to give you four simple steps that will help you begin to address the debt you have. In turn, this will help you practice generosity.
- Know your financial condition. Proverbs 24:5 reminds us, The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength. In other words, knowledge is power. The more knowledge you have of your financial condition, the better off you will be. I realize it’s tempting to avoid looking closely at your finances, for fear of feeling stressed and worried about your money. I encourage you to take the time to look closely at how you are using your money in order to start using it more effectively and efficiently.
- Confess if necessary. After you have taken a closer look at your finances, I encourage you to understand how you got where you are and determine if your financial circumstances are self-inflicted. Proverbs 11:28 says, Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. If you have been trusting in your money more than you are trusting in your Heavenly Father, confess and repent of that sin today. Ask God to help you place your trust in Him first and foremost.
- Plan to put God first. It is vital that you have a plan for handling your money. It is even more important that you place God at the top of that plan. Another one of my favorite verses in Proverbs is, The simple believe anything, but the prudent give thought to their steps. (Proverbs 14:15) The best thing you can do to address your debt is to make a plan (often called a budget) and place God at the top of that budget. By so doing, you will plan to give to the Lord each month.
- Wait on God. For many people facing excessive debt, we aren’t very good at waiting. We want what we want right now. Instead of putting yourself in debt, wait on the Lord to provide for you. Many of us can miss out on God’s blessings because we are too quick to take care of ourselves. Try waiting on Him to take care of you.
In sharing these four steps with you, I hope you will be encouraged to give back to God, regardless of your current financial circumstances. Instead of thinking we can’t afford to give, we need to understand that we can’t afford not to give. Everything we have is a gift from our Heavenly Father. By being generous toward Him, we are showing Him that we trust Him. We are demonstrating that we honor Him for blessing us.