When it comes to balancing life, the practice of generosity is not an option. Generosity can refer to giving of different kinds of things. However, the easiest thing for us think about is the giving of our money. It may be the easiest to think about, but also one of the hardest to do.
Bishop Robert Schnase talks about some of the reasons it’s hard to be generous with money in his book Five Practices of Fruitful Living. For one thing he says, we find it difficult to give generously because of fear. We fear if we give generously there may not be enough or we may have to give up things that give us pleasure. And yet we know that there are plenty of people around us who live happily and fruitfully who earn less than we do.
A second reason we don’t give generously is that we underestimate the effort and planning needed to do so. Generosity in giving doesn’t just seep into us. It requires deep conviction, maturity, practice, and intentionality. No one tithes accidentally (tithe refers to giving 10% of one’s income to God through their giving to the church).
A third reason we don’t give generously is that we convince ourselves we will begin to do so after we finally catch the financial break that frees us up to be generous. The fact is that most people tend to become less generous the wealthier they become. And then there’s the sticky question of how much money does it take to be happy? Studies show us that no matter what the income level, people say it will take about 20% more for them to be happy. Left up to us, we never feel there is enough.
I encourage you to join me in leaving behind our reasons not to give and seek to be extravagantly generous. After all, isn’t that how God has given to us in Jesus Christ?
Your partner on the journey,