Groeschel opens up chapter 6 with a cute conversation he overheard between two of his children:
Bookie: Joy, you’ve GOT to give your money to charity. When you give your money to charity, you’re giving it to God!
JoJo: I’m not giving my money to charity.
Bookie: Please, Joy! You HAVE to give your money to charity! Giving your money to charity is like giving it to God.
JoJo: I am NOT giving my money to charity.
Bookie: Please, JoJo–please, please, puh-leeze….give your money to charity, even just some of it and you’ll be giving it to God.
Jojo: Look, Bookie, I’m not giving anything to Charity–I don’t even know who she is! And if I did, I probably wouldn’t like her anyway. Charity is not getting any of my money!
It’s tempting to agree with JoJo on this. Think about it. We work hard for what we have. It’s not easy to get the things we have.
“It’s perfectly normal to feel entitled to keep what’s ours. Especially if we don’t personally know the people to whom we’re giving.”
But like Groeschel says in this chapter, Bookie was actually onto something foundational. It says in the Bible that when we give generously, we’re serving, honoring and glorifying God.
As followers of Christ, consider just for a moment the “value of the incredible, undeserved gift he has given to us: Mercy. Grace. Forgiveness. A new life.”
If we’ve received the heart riches and abundant life of a new life through Christ, we should be giving out of the deepest gratitude.
Groeschel goes on to say that we all have a certain “eye” for something. Business leaders may have an “eye” for the best deal. Designers have an “eye” for color. But we ALL can have a generous “eye.” “It’s not a special talent, skill or personality trait.”
Weirdly enough, the more we give away, the richer we become.
But Groeschel does add that we shouldn’t expect our blessings in return to always be material. He’s not suggesting that when we give a hundred dollars somewhere that we’ll get a hundred dollars somewhere else. It can happen but that’s not the point.
We’re promised a blessing if we give generously, not a big payback
Not all the blessings of God have to do with money
They could be riches of the Spirit: peace, joy, patience. Or they could be gifts that money can’t buy such as a spouse, kids, forgiveness ,respect…..Giving generously changes you. It frees you up. It undermines the power that money and possessions can have over you. And it does something else……it makes us more like Him.
Groeschel tells us that the only way to cultivate a generous eye is to practice—look for opportunities and then give in to them. He categorizes these opportunities into three ways of giving:
Spontaneous givers are those who act impulsively, such as giving to the homeless man at the stoplight before it changes. Groeschel comments that this level of giving is not a “deliberate lifestyle commitment–it’s only a reaction and often an emotional one at that.”
Groeschel adds that the goal is to transform spontaneous giving into strategic giving. He says that if “spontaneous givers are weird then strategic givers are just plain rowdy.” Strategic givers plan ahead. They’re intentional with their giving. They are also tithers.
Isaiah 32:8 says “Generous people plan to do what is generous and they stand firm in their generosity.” (NLT)
Finally, if spontaneous givers are weird and strategic givers are rowdy then sacrificial givers are straight up wild-eyed fanatics, according to Groeschel. Sacrificial giving doesn’t mean tossing everything to the wind and have nothing left at all. Most sacrificial givers are quite wealthy–they just don’t live like that’s their goal. They realize they are God’s stewards of the money they have and they want to share it however they can.
To wrap the chapter up, Groeschel encourages us to start saving. Start cutting back so that we can have more to give. Watch for opportunities.
Sure, it’s weird to believe that it is more blessed to give than to receive. But it’s also the most life-giving, eye-opening truth about money that we can ever learn. Do whatever you have to do to make your eyes generous. God will bless you and you can be a blessing.