“Because we have more, we will give more.” – from week 3 of the How To Be Rich message.
Or, in other words, if you are doing well, you should do good. The people who have a lot of experience doing well, have two principles they follow. The first one is strategic giving. Or, you can substitute the word responsible. Being responsible or strategic is nothing new. It is a staple in every successful business. Being strategic is the opposite of reacting immediately and equally to everything. Wisdom and experience have taught us that generosity, like so many other things in life, is most effective when thoughtfully undertaken. Using our head and heart will make our generosity go further.
True generosity is giving away something we want and need to someone who doesn’t have the ability to obtain it any other way. It is responding to the obvious need of another, without calculating how much we stand to gain or lose. Luke 6:38 tells us, “For if you give, you will get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use to give—large or small—will be used to measure what is given back to you.”
The Psalmist adds his own endorsement to generosity, “Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.” (Psalm 112:5) Proverbs tells us “The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” (Proverbs 11:25).
Colossians 3:23 tells us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.” At Northstar, we strive to do all things in a quality and strategic manner which honors God, inspires people, and accomplishes His work.
So what does strategic giving look like? Influenced by vast needs worldwide each church and each individual can be tempted to spread their giving throughout the world. This could result in support being too thin. Strategic giving means deciding where we will have a substantial impact rather than simply giving broadly. Even the largest churches with all their resources understand this concept. To achieve the most impact, Saddleback Church strategically focuses its energy in Rwanda, while Willow Creek in Chicago works intently with World Vision in the Dominican Republic. As I mentioned on Sunday, we work with a community in Kiu, Kenya. It would make little sense for many churches to work with Kiu, when so many other areas need assistance from God’s people.
Whether on a personal or the local church level, we do best by giving strategically. None of us can afford to give something to everything, so we as individuals and churches need to decide where we can make our greatest, most strategic impact. It involves seeking God’s guidance to make contributions to the things that matter to God or into the work related to building Christ’s Kingdom.
1. Take a few moments in gratitude, thanking God for all the riches He has given us rather than dwelling on what we do not have. Psalms 117:1 says, “ Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Compile a short list of what God has already blessed you with. Do you have it good? Does knowing what you have make it easier to share with others?
2. How do you define strategic when it comes to giving?
3. What do you want to achieve through your generosity? And what criteria do you use to decide what to support through your generosity? Is it important to know the answers to those questions or to simply trust God to use your giving to His benefit?