New year’s resolutions are notoriously hard to follow, so 2023 may be the year to try a new approach: try making a creative new year’s resolution that can make an impact on the world around you. Almost 40% of Americans will make goals and resolutions for the new year. Most will be focused on self-improvement, but most will not last through June. It might be worth trying some new, creative new year’s resolutions that refocus your efforts on the problems you see in the world. This year, what if you resolved to solve those problems through generosity?
In their book, God and Money: How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School, John Cortines and Gregory Baumer explain that American evangelical Christians possess an annual income of over $5 trillion. In 2021, the average American evangelical Christian gave 3.2% of their income to churches or other charities. If giving among Christians increased by even 0.5%, all of the following could be impacted and funded:
- Sponsor 1 million full-time missionaries in developing nations
- Provide full resources for global malaria campaign
- Quadruple the global missions’ budget for reaching un-evangelized nations
- Provide food, clothing, and shelter for 6.5 million refugees across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East
- Triple the global Bible translation budget
- Fund 150,000 seminary scholarships
- Establish eight new Christian universities around the world
- Hire 25,000 additional American missionaries to work on college campuses
There are many unique ways to make an impact. As we start the new year, consider what a resolution to be generous could look like in your life. How will you dig in and help build the Kingdom of God? Your creative new year’s resolution for generosity can last for a year or span an entire decade. It can involve giving up your own time and talents to serve others, or on providing financial support to your fellow workers (or both!). Most importantly, think about how your generosity can make an impact for generations to follow. Here are a few things to consider as you get started:
1. Find Your Cause
God has given each of us unique passions, causes we desire to pursue, and ways to be generous. Some passions come naturally. Others may show up as we journey through life. If God has already placed a cause on your family’s heart, use that to fuel your new year’s generosity resolution. If you have yet to discover what cause you are passionate about, take it to God in prayer and keep your eyes and ears open to where He prompts you to make an impact.
2. Dream Big
You may be drawn to make a new year’s resolution to get involved in an issue that seems intractable. Do not let the weight of the problem at hand deter you, but let it be an opportunity for faith and faithfulness. The enemy uses fear and the lie that our efforts are insignificant to try to thwart your pursuit of God’s call, but you do not have to yield to these temptations. The phrase “Fear not” is mentioned 365 times in the Bible. It is a daily reminder that we serve a God who is able to do far more then we can think or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20). Use this encouragement to dream big and believe that God’s power is at work through you and your generosity.
3. Set Generosity Goals
What are a few practical ways your family can implement your resolution for generosity in the new year? Once you and your family have identified a cause to pursue, the best way to get started is to create generosity goals. You could track hours volunteered, dollars donated, clothes collected, or whatever else you and your family decide to give. Your generosity goal should stretch you, but it should not be so large it seems unattainable. Start with small monthly goals and work your way up as you find new ways to make an impact through your new year’s resolutions.
Creative New Year’s resolutions centered around generosity are just the beginning of saying ‘yes’ to God’s calling. The road ahead may be tough but remember Paul’s encouragement to the Church of Philippi: “…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
Baumer, G., and Cortines, J. (2016). God and Money: How We Discovered True Riches at Harvard Business School. Rose Publishing, Inc.
This article was originally published on January 3rd, 2020.