Is Your Giving Strategic?
The thick gold band and the large diamond told me that this was no ordinary ring. I could tell by the words that this was some kind of championship ring. So I leaned over in my cramped airline seat and asked. Sure enough, it was a Super Bowl ring.
We had a wide-ranging conversation about football, owners, the stock market, and well, giving. He was quick to talk to me about his investment philosophy, and his expense philosophy. Every few months, he worked on a spreadsheet that showed his anticipated needs—gas, groceries, vacation, electricity, etc. He calibrated his investments to meet his expenses.
He volunteered that giving was a below-the-line expense. This meant that he didn’t plan to give. It was something “extra.” What giving he did was sometimes to the church and some civic-based organizations. There was no plan to give. I’m not really sure why he volunteered the information.
But his experience, I’m afraid, is all too common. In Generous Living, Ron Blue points out that most people don’t plan to give. And to the extent they give, they don’t have a plan for how much and where to give. For those who give, their giving is largely default—perhaps their local church, a missionary whose family they know, or a friend who asks them to support a favorite charity.
I think our challenge is to move giving up to a top-line priority—and as we make it a top-line priority, to consider those organizations where we are passionately aligned. Where can we make a difference? Where can we make sure that the ongoing work of Christ is advanced? Can we even use our giving to start a new work?
I’ve got a friend I’ll call Pete. He’s set a lifetime giving goal. It’s a big number. And he’s strategically focused his giving in places where he’s involved. He’s involved in the youth arena. Consequently, his giving is focused upon Christian education and evangelistic youth ministry. This kind of focus keeps him looking at giving as a top-line priority.