You’ve been in the situation: someone you see needs help. They need a large amount of money and fast! What do you do? Dip into your emergency fund? Take out a loan? Find an extra job? Or tell them to ask someone else? These situations aren’t always easy. Let’s explore some ideas about giving.
I’m No Giving Expert!
See that title up there? It’s true. I’m relatively new to giving – I really couldn’t when I didn’t have any money. Now that my wife and I have paid off our non-mortgage debt and built an emergency fund, we have a little extra money at the end of the month. We’ve tithed from the beginning of our marriage, but seldom gave apart from that.
We’ve given occasionally, when we’ve seen a need, but were never truly prepared to give. When I say we weren’t truly prepared, I mean it wasn’t in our budget. That let me to think about the next question:
Should people have a giving fund? Should giving actually be a budgeting category that you fund every month? Perhaps it’s something you should refill every year. Hmm, interesting.
I’m hoping all of you ChristianPF readers out there have more answers than I do. I’m just getting the conversation started. Here are a few things to chew on before you head to the comments section . . . .
The Pros and the Cons
I’m trying to approach this objectively and consider all parties involved. So, when one is trying to do that, one should make a list of pros and cons of each option. Here is my list:
Giving Fund Pros
When you have a giving fund, you’re less likely to give out of impulsive emotion and destroy your budgeting categories. For example, let’s say you pull the money from your emergency fund. Was the purpose of your emergency fund really to fund other’s emergencies? Of course not! Having a giving fund keeps purposed money where it belongs.
Another benefit of a giving fund would be that you can clearly see how much giving you can afford. Some of you out there are so generous, you’d give the clothes off your back to help the needy. But if you sacrifice your essentials, doesn’t that just hinder you from being able to provide a living for your family and give in the future?
Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. – 1 Timothy 5:8 NIV
Giving obviously should be prioritized: family first, relatives second, acquaintances and strangers third. A giving fund helps you determine how much you can give to your relatives, acquaintances, and strangers. Your family (household) is provided for through your budget.
Giving Fund Cons
The major downside to a giving fund is that it takes away much of the spontaneity of giving. If you know you have x-amount of dollars to spend on giving each year, that makes it difficult to fund bigger giving opportunities. It also takes away a certain feeling of sacrifice; you know you already had funds ready to give, and you’re simply following your budget.
Some might say that creating a giving fund limits God. But can something really limit God? One could argue that adhering to a giving fund might lead to a person ignoring the promptings of the Holy Spirit. No doubt, if God prompts you to give, you should no matter what. But maybe God wouldn’t prompt you to give more than you would have in your giving fund – as long as your giving amount was prayerfully considered.
What Are Your Two Cents?
Like I said earlier, I’m no giving expert. I’m testing the waters on giving. I want giving to be something that’s spontaneous and purposeful yet within reason.
Is a giving fund the answer? I want to hear from you. If you read this post, please put in your two cents below in the comments. We can all learn from each other, and any biblical advice you might have would be greatly appreciated!
Meet us in the comments! I’m sure you have something to say!