Giving. You know you should do it. But how, how much, and when?
Truth in Financial Planning has a strategy that encourages giving according to your circumstances. We call this the “Three Phases of Giving.”
Before we explain how, how much, and when to give, some of you might be asking the question: why give? Here are just a few of the many reasons to give:
1. God says to honor him with your wealth.
The Bible makes it clear that we are to give. Giving first to God, and then to others.
Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops . . . . – Proverbs 3:9 NIV
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act. – Proverbs 3:27 NIV
Surely, God deserves our praise and honor – and one important way to do that is by giving.
2. It is more blessed to give than receive.
In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the LORD Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ – Acts 20:35 NIV
We should train ourselves to enjoy giving more than receiving. This is a heart issue. Many times, our attitude toward giving reveals our character – are we thinking of others above ourselves?
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves . . . . – Philippians 2:3 NIV
3. Giving changes our perspective on money for the better.
Many attest to how giving changes one’s perspective on money. When you see the fruit of your giving, everything changes: how you spend money, how you conduct your business, and how you spend your time.
Try acting like a good steward, and you’ll soon become one.
The Three Phases of Giving
The Three Phases of Giving corresponds and overlaps with the Three Phases of Wealth. With each phase, you’ll take giving to the next level – in accordance with your financial plan. Here’s how it works . . . .
1. Tithing (The Foundation Phase)
During the Foundation Phase, you’ll focus your efforts on tithing. Tithing is giving 10% to the Lord, via the church. Build tithing into your budget – at the very top. Make it a priority.
A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD; it is holy to the LORD. – Leviticus 27:30 NIV
At this point, you’re laying the foundation of your finances – creating a budget, saving $1,000 in cash, getting appropriate insurance policies, personalizing your estate plan, paying off all consumer debt, and building an emergency fund. These are essential steps to take care of your household . . . .
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
2. Impact Giving (The Accumulating Wealth Phase)
During the Accumulating Wealth Phase, focus on impact giving. By all means, continue to tithe, but in addition to that look for ministries, charities, and other opportunities where your gift will be a blessing.
Research these opportunities and with much prayer, give where you believe you’ll make the biggest difference in others’ lives.
The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. – Proverbs 22:9 NIV
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. – Luke 6:38 NIV
In this phase, you can start focusing on offerings that extend beyond your tithe. You will have laid your financial foundation, and can now afford to give more.
3. Legacy Giving (The Strategic Income Phase)
During the Strategic Income Phase, it’s time to prepare for legacy giving. While tithing and giving with impact, get ready to lay down a strong legacy of generosity.
Leave a legacy with your estate – reviewing your living trust and living will.
Prayerfully consider big ways to give, and whenever possible . . . .
. . . when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. – Matthew 6:3-4 NIV
Still, remember that your family and loved ones need to be encouraged to give to continue the tradition. One way this can be done is through an inheritance:
A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children . . . . – Proverbs 13:22 NIV
Demonstrate for your family how to give, but when giving to strangers and the needy, try to do so anonymously if possible and in a way that gives glory to the Lord.
By the time you reach this phase, you’ll be ready to give more than you imagined at the beginning of your financial journey. Be a tremendous blessing to others, remembering all that the Lord has done for you.
The Three Phases of Giving encourages you to gradually increase your giving as you are able. As you move into each phase, you’ll have more income to give away. This is an appropriate and balanced way to practice giving.
You may have heard of the 10/10/80 method of tithing, saving, and spending. Unfortunately, this method falls short by encouraging you save or invest before you really should and limits your future giving. There is no one-size-fits-all financial plan to giving.
However, the Three Phases of Wealth shifts your financial goals depending on your progress, ensuring appropriate allocation of money to all areas of your financial life in the right timing. In conjunction with the Three Phases of Giving, you’ll have a solid financial plan that adjusts to your circumstances.
Once you reach the second and third phases, you’ll have the opportunity to decide the specifics on how much to give:
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV
Which of the Three Phases of Giving are you in? Start giving today!