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3 P’s of Giving

December 22, 2014

“Command them to do good. To BE RICH in good deeds and to be generous and willing to share” - 1 Tim 6:18.

You are likely reading this during the Christmas break or early in the New Year. During this time, many of us reflect on the previous year and look forward to what’s in store for the New Year including making New Year’s resolutions. It’s also a good time to review our charitable giving.

Andy Stanley, pastor, communicator, author and founder of North Point Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia, in his recent book, “How to Be Rich: It’s Not What You Have, It’s What You Do With What You Have.” talks about the 3 P’s of giving: Priority, Percentage and Progressive Giving.

Priority. There are many reasons not to give such as a vehicle repair bill; waiting until we are done paying for our children’s braces or our mortgage is paid off, etc. Andy Stanley makes the case that we need to give right now, not some time in the future.

Percentage. The Bible has a lot to say about the tithe which means tenth. A guideline is 5% of your income to your church and 5% to other causes.

Progressive Giving. Stanley encourages Christians to keep your giving in proportion to your income and assets. As our financial situation changes throughout our life, we should change our giving percentage along with it. For someone just embarking on a career and making $40,000 a year, giving 10% equals $4,000 which represents a lot of money. Years later, when the house is paid off and (s)he’s now a successful business owner making $200,000 a year, that person can likely give significantly more than 10%. 

Paul in his writing to Timothy and elsewhere, commands Christians to be generous, not because he wanted our money, but because he didn’t want our money to have us. And just as wealth can have negative side effects such as arrogance and chronic dislocated hope, giving away wealth has positive side effects. Generosity is a wonderful antidote to an over-reliance on our material possessions.

For those of you who give richly and faithfully, thank you. For those of you who have yet to give or give sparingly, start now. For those of you who have accumulated assets and income, give richly.

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