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The Debt Factor

By Anonymous | 31 May 2013 | Comments (3)

The Art of Giving - The Debt Factor 


This blog is part 7 in The Art of Giving email series. Want to sign up to receive all ten emails for free? Enter your email address here.


When I was at my lowest financial point, about to be plunged into thousands of pounds worth of debt, I decided to start giving. I did it with the same motion as someone about to be dunked under water; I closed my eyes and held my breath.

I did it primarily out of misplaced obedience; out of a fear that if I didn’t then I’d be forever financially subdued. I knew a few bible verses, I understood a couple of promises, and I faithfully gave my 10%. I missed the point entirely.

The unfortunate truth these days is that the majority of us may well be in some form of debt for a substantial part of our lives. Fortunately, God is bigger than our financial commitments and is able to move in and through them if we surrender them to him (Romans 8:28). But debt or no debt, it’ll never negate our responsibility to be a good steward of the resources we are given.

But let’s unpack that word ‘responsibility’. For me, that was the sticking point. Giving when in debt undoubtedly requires faith, and God has promised to meet all our needs (Phil 4:19). If we know it is God who is encouraging us to give, but we don’t have enough to feed our family, I believe He will provide for our family too as we step out in faith (take a look at 1 Kings 17). But He also places a high value on providing for our families where we’re able to (1 Tim 5:8), and even rebukes the Pharisees when they pretend to be honouring God with their money at the expense of looking after their parents (Matt 15:1-6). So it’s our responsibility to be wise and to be asking God how much to give, and when.

I didn’t ask him. I calculated an exact 10%, rounded up to the nearest pound. Not a penny less or more. When I first set up the Direct Debit, I had no idea how I was going to live without that money – but my nagging conscience was at least abated. God was incredibly gracious to me, despite my motives. At many miraculous points in that year, He provided. Somehow I always had enough, and I could never pin down exactly how it was happening – although I had a feeling that Malachi 3:6-12 had something to do with it.

Once I’d opened my eyes and realised I wasn’t going to drown, I discovered an outright joy in giving. When I logged in to my giving account and saw funds accumulating there I suddenly felt incredibly rich, in a way so diametrically opposed to the strange shackle of having that same money in my bank account. It became money for good - money for freedom – not something to feel anxious about or to hoard. The release in that realisation, especially in the midst of being in debt, was immense.

My God was bigger than my debt. He had it all under control. But I still had pretty major control issues.

When I saw more financial trouble up ahead, like Peter, I took my eyes off Jesus. I stopped giving, and took back control of what I had surrendered. Even though I had first-hand evidence of His incredible provision, I doubted. It’s easy to doubt if your motives are wrong in the first place – and mine definitely were. Suddenly my debt had a death-grip on me again, pushing me back into the deep.

It wasn’t until I was chatting with a friend one day that I heard something that broke through my mindset. We were talking about obedience to God, and what that looks like in our day-to-day lives. I quoted a verse I’d known for years: ‘If you love me, you’ll obey my commands.’

‘Yeah,’ said my friend, sharp as a knife. ‘If you love me.’

And just like that, the penny dropped from my head to my heart. It wasn’t about giving out of ‘obedience’ whilst wildly quoting God’s promises back to him, in the hope that that would get me out of debt. Obedience to God’s word – even while in debt – should come from a place of love first, and here’s the key: we are then able to love others because He first loved us.

I started a love-story journey with my Creator. I discovered that he sings over me. I found out that He knows exactly how many hairs are on my head, how much money I’m going to need for today (Exodus 16:4-5Matthew 6:34) and how many hours I’ve spent worrying about giving my daughter a better life. He knows and loves me. How could I not love him back? And in so doing, how could I not be compelled to give?

I surfaced, and took a big gulp of air. I lay back in the water, stretched out my limbs and floated, safe in the knowledge that my God was holding me – and my debt – and would never let me drown.

 

the challenge:

Consider your debts, if you have any. Read the Bible verses mentioned in the blog above, and see how they apply to your situation. Then, pray. Ask for God's clear guidance on how to manage your finances - including your giving. If you're not in debt, consider becoming an accountability or prayer partner to someone who is, or just spend today praying for them.

links we love:

comments:

Anon

June 1, 2013 9:18 AM
I agree with all this. Have you any help for those who cannot give because their husband's stop them, which has happened with my daughter, whose husband lost his faith? They used to give when he had faith.

PS Please do not publish my name.

Natalie Collins

June 4, 2013 8:13 AM
Hi Anonymous,

My sister's husband is not a Christian, so they have had to work round the giving issue. The solution they worked out was that my sister tithes her earnings and accepts her husband won't tithe his. Perhaps this may be a solution to your daughter's problem? However, it may be worth considering whether there are wider issues of your daughter's husband controlling the money. If you feel the situation is more that he is controlling the finances and your daughter doesn't have equal right over how it gets spent, there may be wider issues to deal with. To find out more, visit http://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic_violence_topic.asp?section=0001000100220049┬žionTitle=Financial

Snowy

June 4, 2013 8:09 PM
I have a similar issue: I became a Christian after marriage and feel I need to respect my husband's caution with money. He doesn't have the trust that I do, that God will provide, and wants us to save for our future, whereas I would like to be giving more.

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