Do I Need to Give Less Money Away?


Someone recently emailed me to ask if they should stop giving away so much of their money. They’re living on 87 percent of their income and giving away the other 13 percent, but they aren’t putting any money away. They aren’t building their savings, and they have begun to wonder if that should change.  

If you find yourself in a similar position—you want to be generous, but you aren’t building your savings—here are a few things to consider.

Stability and Longevity

It is a beautiful thing to live a generous lifestyle, and doing so will yield a return from the Lord. Try to protect the position of faith you’ve taken. Choose to honor that position and hold on to it—but not at the price of destabilizing your home.

The idea of stability comes from the Old Testament and the Jewish community. To this day, the Jews really value stability, while we in the West tend to value risk-taking. We use it as a way to draw closer to God. There is nothing wrong with this idea until it begins to weaken our homes.

As Christians, we need to have stable homes because we are better givers when we’re operating from a place of strength. I’m not telling you to avoid giving big gifts or to step away from taking generous risks. But we need to understand there is also value in stability. That is where longevity comes from.

When you choose to build your savings, you are storing up “seed” that will help stabilize you and make you a stronger and better giver in the future. Giving and saving work together. They aren’t opposites, nor are they in conflict. Both are seeds you are planting that will eventually produce a harvest. You can work with God to increase your giving and your saving—on purpose and by faith, so you can give even more.

Generosity and Strength

Generosity from a place of stability and strength will make your giving legacy far stronger and more potent than the same plan from a place of vulnerability and weakness. Both are mixed with faith and both are working hard, but one starts from a place of capacity and the other from the lack of capacity.

Put together a plan for what you want your living, giving, and saving to look like. Picture them as a baseball diamond, and purposefully lay out a “baseline” you can follow that will enable you to run all the bases and reach home plate.

Understand there will be times when you’re able to run hard and other times when you get knocked back. No one magically appears at first base. You get there by putting one foot in front of the other.

Whatever you decide, take your plan to the Lord. Tell Him, “God, this is what I want to do. Would You match me in this? Would You meet me in this plan?” Then watch Him lengthen your stride as you start running.

The Effect of Seed

At the beginning, learning how to live on 80 or even 70 percent of your income can seem impossible. “I can’t afford to live at 80 percent! What happens when I try to move to 70 percent?”

As you consider these things, remember the passage of time and the effect of seed in the ground. When seed is sown in faith and faithfulness, a yield will return to you—you will experience a harvest. More and more income will begin pouring into your life, and it will become easier and easier to live on a lower percentage.

Be Radical

Wherever you’re at in this process, determine in faith how to get yourself to the next base. Make it a tough goal.

Maybe first base for you is living on 90 percent of your income (giving away 5 percent and saving the other 5 percent). Maybe it’s living on 86 percent of your income (giving away 7 percent and saving the other 7 percent). Aim righteously and wisely in the Holy Spirit toward a “home run” with your finances.

When my wife and I decided to live on 80 percent of our income, it seemed impossible to us, but we set it up anyway and guess what happened? We were able to round first base and start toward second, and it didn’t take us months and years. The same will happen for you.

One day on the other side of your home run, you’ll stand before the King and say, “This is what I did!”

And He will answer, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

Lauren Stinton