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the art of giving: reflections

By Fiona Mearns | 28 June 2013

The Art of Giving - a conclusion


Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. (James 1:22-24)

Let’s rewind to the start of this series when we spoke of unpacking Biblical lessons; lessons that would help us to discover abundant generosity - giving designed to impact our whole lives, to leave us fundamentally changed.

Since then we’ve considered the art of giving from many different angles and perspectives, holding it up to the light to see what’s illuminated. As art naturally does, it may have left us with questions to think about, posed challenges or reflected back our own experience. It will have meant something different for each of us, but what will we do with that?

Do we feel inspired to give more or differently or are we burdened by the challenge? Do we behave like the person who looks in the mirror, goes away and forgets what they look like or do we remember the reflection and carry it with us?

Many artists use mirrors in order to paint self-portraits. It’s a way of practising their art, of making a close study of themselves and in capturing their reflection they reveal something of who they are in that moment. Then by changing the perspective or use of light, and looking again, something new is revealed.

Likewise, the art of giving is not something to be viewed and forgotten, it’s to be practised and passed on; seen from different angles and expressed in new ways. At times, it may jar with our cultural beliefs and ideas and things we’d assumed ‘everyone does’. So maybe it’s time for us to paint a new portrait and if we make a few wrong brushstrokes and make a bit of a mess along the way, so be it. Every artist starts somewhere.

What next?

Paint your giving portrait as it looks now. Start with a review of how and why you give.

  • Consider: do I give financially and also with my time and talents? Is it a good blend?
  • Ask yourself some questions such as: could you do things differently, be more creative, push your boundaries? Does your giving stretch you or does it feel comfortable?
  • Is my giving planned or spontaneous? Has it become too structured and so lacking in creativity? Or has it become too random and haphazard and do I need to be more organised and intentional?
  • Am I consistent in my giving? Am I committing to a regular weekly/monthly amount or dedicating my time or talents on a regular basis?
  • Finishing touch: could a giving account help me in my giving? See Stewardship giving accounts for more information.

The Art of Giving was brought to you by Stewardship. We inspire Christians to live and give generously and strengthen the causes you care about. Last year more than 25,000 individuals gave £53 million to support over 19,000 charitable recipients registered with Stewardship. Learn more about giving and receiving with us, or take a look at more blogs.

Posted by Fiona Mearns

Fiona Mearns is the Resourcing Christian Workers Coordinator at Stewardship and part of a team committed to helping individuals build and maintain strong, sustainable support networks.  She loves to write whenever there’s an opportunity and is a fan of a well-used apostrophe.


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