I’ve been teaching a class on Biblical Finances and came across this list containing stages of giving. The list was very impactful to me because it gave me a vision for what giving can be beyond what I have imagined up until now. It really helped me to see where I am and changes I can make to move to the next level.
At first when I looked beyond level 4 I thought, “This is where only the rich people can live.” But God started correcting me and showing me that people are able to give extravagantly because they manage their money with purpose. People become rich because they manage their money with purpose.
Then, I started to realize that managing my money with these goals in mind will actually bring me closer towards wealth because I can’t give away what I don’t have. When you really want to give at these higher levels you manage your money with wisdom so you can take care of you future and have more to give!
How many of us don’t even have a plan for the future today? How many of us don’t have a plan for giving? As you progress through these stages it is clear that a plan for giving includes a plan for the future. This list might overwhelm some people, but it left me encouraged and inspired so I thought I’d share. I have adapted it slightly from the book Faith Based Family Finances.
Stages of Giving
1. Minimal response – Give when asked and only when asked. This giving is not consistent. When someone “passes a bag” or makes a specific request you give out of obligation but if the offering plate doesn’t pass in front of you giving does not happen.
2. Involvement and interest – Giving happens because you are involved in a project or interested in seeing something happen. You give to support a cause or mission. This type of giving is emotional in nature and not consistent.
3. Give what you are able – Giving happens on a more consistent basis but is limited to what you can afford. At the early part of this stage regular offerings occur. As you grow in maturity through this stage semi – consistent tithing occurs. As you reach the top end of this stage tithing is consistent and offerings occur regularly.
4. Give as much as possible – This type of giving requires a plan. Tithes, offerings, first fruits, and alms become part of your budget and you make trade offs and sacrifices in order to give. Giving moves into a priority position in your life.
5. Maximum allowable – You give the maximum allowed by the IRS.
6. Beyond the max – You no longer allow the IRS to determine how much you will give.
7. Percentage of wealth – You measure your wealth and determine that a certain percentage of your wealth will be consistently given each year.
8. Capping of wealth – You determine and set a limit on how much wealth is enough for you, your heirs, and your future and give the rest away.
9. Bequests – You take care of your heirs and give a portion of your wealth (or the remainder of your wealth) away after you die.
(adapted from Ron Blue and Jeremy L White’s book: Faith Based Family Finances)
I highly recommend the book Faith Based Family Finances! Even though the title may not suggest so, it is interesting and inspiring!