You may have heard of the bestselling book When Helping Hurts, which provides a framework for poverty alleviation by walking with the materially poor in humble relationships instead of just giving temporary handouts on money. The same can apply to generosity. It often starts materially or monetarily, but in its highest form, it often looks like sacrificial living.
When I left the law firm to join The Signatry about 5 years ago, a colleague of mine told me to read this book and see that giving materially is not necessarily the best way of generosity. I agree with that statement generally, but I think generosity also usually starts there. Chip Ingram says in The Genius of Generosity, “Generous living begins with the “training wheels” of money and possessions.”
When I advise clients about charitable giving strategies and techniques, I usually start with the “training wheels” of generosity through material donations, but in challenging times like these, it may take another type of generosity. Together, we can continue to give, even when it hurts.
3 Ways to Give
• Give your time – As my pastor described it, the COVID-19 season is “a divine interruption”. Let’s use this time wisely. Be generous with the time that God has given you in prayer with family, friends, neighbors, and clients. Spend extra time talking on the phone with loved ones. You could use the extra time to read, and just take time to listen, even if it is just quiet.
• Give your body – There are blood shortages and people on the organ donor lists. People are giving blood because many blood banks are critically low. Maybe it is time to cut that long hair for a chemo patient. You could go outside and exercise to honor God with your body. Paul says in I Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” Use your body to give honor and glory to God.
• Give monetarily – I know I just said that this is the “training wheels”, but during challenging economic times, this is like riding a bike with training wheels down Pike’s Peak! It is unsafe and dangerous, maybe crazy, but it is a heck of a ride! Give like you have never given before and you will be blessed like you have never been blessed before!
Even in this season, bringing a plan and new ideas will allow you to bring peace and continue to serve clients well. While the world might look very different right now, values have not changed. It just might take more creativity to find new ways to put generosity strategies into practice when former ways are not presently an option. We all have an incredible opportunity to impact the Kingdom as we lean in to serve and give sacrificially.