The Giving Paradox

Giving charity outreach

This time of year, giving often comes to the forefront for several reasons. Holiday charity drives, Giving Tuesday, even maximizing your charitable contributions for tax purposes. But if you’re struggling to make progress on your finances, the last thing on your mind might be giving. How can you give if you can’t cover your own expenses?

Giving as Part of Your Budget

It’s hard to give if you’re struggling to maintain your Four Walls (shelter, transportation, food, and clothing). And you should prioritize getting your own situation in order before looking outward. But, if you’re like the majority of Americans, realistically there is some room in your budget for giving. If you sat down and prioritized a little better, there’s probably some room in the budget to fit giving in.

Why part with your hard-earned money, especially if you’ve taken on a second job or side hustle to accomplish your financial goals? Because, as paradoxical as it seems, we often receive far more, both monetarily and emotionally, when we give. If you claim the Judeo-Christian worldview and faith as your own, there is a clear Biblical mandate to give. Many people of faith struggle with giving. However, a good way to think about it is this: it’s not ours to begin with. We are stewards of what God has given us. He only asks us to give Him a tenth (tithe) of what He’s given.

In addition to the Biblical mandate, however, there is a promise, found in Malachi 3:10, that is so powerful for the believer. “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, ” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” God actually calls us to test Him in the area of giving, so He can bless us even more!

More Contentment

Even if you’re not of the Judeo-Christian faith, you still benefit from being charitable and giving. Giving with an open heart causes you to think of others, sometimes before yourself. Any time we shift our focus off of us and onto others, we often feel more contented and happier. This is often a by-product of knowing we’ve made a difference in someone else’s life. I also think that by helping those less fortunate, it makes us grateful for all of the things we do have. It makes us more content with our own situation. Win-win.

I believe that you can still be blessed by giving with a cheerful heart – even if you’re not a believer. Call it karma, call it what you want, but we humans improve ourselves by being charitable with others. So during this holiday season, test it out – make some room in your budget for charitable giving. Or even give of your time by volunteering for the myriad of charitable activities going on this time of year. See how your mindset and finances are blessed by your sacrificial giving.

How do you feel about charitable giving? Is it something you already practice? I’d love to hear feedback on this topic, so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!

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