You may ask how to do that. Luke 6:38 (NLT) provides insight: “If you give, you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use in giving – large or small – it will be used to measure what is given back to you.”
The example of a waterwheel may help us understand the principle in this verse. My son’s father-in-law is building a clean energy waterwheel to help power his house in order to reduce his utility bills. I am fascinated by his engineering skill. A pump sucks water to the top of the wheel and drops it onto the paddles. Though the wheel begins to turn slowly, it gradually builds momentum. As the wheel turns, it creates energy that is then stored in a battery. Once the wheel is turning consistently, the energy created is independent of the power grid. In fact, if he builds a big enough wheel, and keeps the water pouring, he will have extra power that he can sell back to the grid for additional profit.
This principle applies to giving as well. Here I identify three keys to developing a lifestyle of giving.
- Prime the Pump – Start with something. Even if it’s a small amount, just start. You may not be in a great financial position right now. As the verse indicates, you may be in a difficult financial situation because you are NOT giving. Often Sandi and I have had to give our way out of financial trouble. I remember once when we were struggling, God put it on my heart to give $20 to someone. It might not seem like much, but we were literally down to our last $20 in the bank. Still I couldn't shake the thought, so I checked with Sandi and she agreed. In the next couple days we received $200 in the mail. God’s provision was already on its way when we gave, but I believe because we stepped out in faith, we were able to see God's faithfulness toward us. It gave us energy for sure, and established something in our hearts that no matter our financial status, we knew we could trust God in our giving. Remember to give based on your total earnings. We have learned that when we give God a tithe of our gross income, sometimes referred to as our first fruits, God blesses what remains. In fact, that 90% seems to stretch farther. If you give from what is left after the bills are paid, you probably won't have any left, and even if you do, you’ll have missed the blessing of giving on the whole amount.
- Be Consistent – Establish a pattern of giving consistently. I often hear people say that they meant to give, but just forgot. I would suggest you set up a recurring gift with post-dated cheques or pre-authorized debit. Or you might go online to our website at https://www.canadahelps.org/dn/23676. As with the waterwheel, keeping the water flowing constantly allows the wheel to gain momentum. A break in the flow of the water stops the wheel and you lose the multiplication that this scripture promises. In the same way, your finances will gain momentum when you give consistently. In fact the scripture says it will be pressed down and running over.
- Increase to Increase – By starting and being consistent, you will see increase in your own finances. Just as adding more water to the wheel or making a bigger wheel adds energy input and outflow, an increase in your giving will come back to you in God’s favor in your life. God tells us to test Him in this and see how He rebukes the devourer on our behalf. (Malachi 3:10-11) It affects every area of our lives as a result. His principles stand, and He promises blessing for generous giving. Remember that a giving lifestyle is in response to God’s goodness. The biblical tithe – a tenth – was a requirement of the covenant between God and His people. Under the New Covenant, there is an even greater expectation, recognizing that God owns it all. So the principle of giving a tithe does not stop at ten percent; that is the starting point. The principle of sowing and reaping is also relevant here. Sow little, reap little; sow more, reap more. RG Letourneau, a kingdom-minded businessman, developed a giving lifestyle. He started small, but as the waterwheel principle kicked in, his company began to grow. The more money he made, the more he increased the percentage of his profits to kingdom endeavors. After twenty years and up to the day he died, his company gave 90% and he lived on the remaining 10%. He could never out-give God.
While it is vital to seek God and respond in obedience to specific promptings, we need to apply the principles that God has already established. As with the law of gravity, His principles always work because He created them. You don't need to ask if you can use them at a certain time or ask God to give them to you. They just ARE. Consider how they apply to your giving.
I encourage you to prime the pump of your waterwheel today. Sit down and plan the steps you will take. Log on to the link above and start now. You will see that the way to develop a lifestyle of giving is to simply start and then watch what happens.
Pastor Mark Gordon