Writing about giving this week has not come easily to me. The main reason is because as a single woman in my late twenties with several school loans to pay off and a very modest salary, giving is not a privilege I have had very often. Yet I am also keenly aware of how blessed I am to live in the United States with daily luxuries a large portion of the world would never dream of having. However, I am still in the beginning stages of figuring out how God would have me make giving a regular part of my life.
I confess that my need for wisdom on this issue leaves me feeling like a poor candidate for blogging about giving. But maybe there are others of you who can relate to my struggle. Like me, you might want to give more and experience the blessings of helping others and storing up treasure in heaven, but you wonder how that is possible when you have debts to pay off or children to care for or other expenses that seem necessary. Even more frustrating, when you hear or read teachings on giving, even Scripture verses, you never feel quite like the teaching applies to you or is directed to your situation. Those teachings often seem directed towards those in our society who do have a lot to give but choose to spend it on things they don’t need for themselves. Yes, by the world’s standards, as a U.S. citizen, I am rich and should take stock of my lifestyle and my use of money and possessions, but then what? That is where I always get stuck.
Hopefully, I’ll look back on this time in my life years from now and understand how it fit into God’s plan for my giving from the perspective of someone who has become a lifelong giver, but for now, I must do what I can with what I have. As a single woman, I am aware that I have time and energy that many young parents or busy professionals would love to have, so I am able to give generously of my time and energy in ministry and by investing in relationships with younger believers. I am also seeking to simplify my schedule and de-accumulate possessions as much as possible so that I have more time to serve others and more space in my mind to think about relationships rather than possessions. Finally, I have actually found it quite satisfying to buy much of my clothes secondhand, and God has also been generous to have others pass along things to me that I have been in need of at different times. I mention these things just to give those of you in similar circumstances to myself an idea of how you might approach this dilemma, but like I said, I am very much in the beginning stages of figuring this out.
So my question for you all this week is, what wisdom can you share about giving for those of us who have a tight budget? For those who are blessed to be able to give, how did you get to that point over the years? What did that process look like for you?