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Cost of Living Crisis: is it okay to give less than usual?

Catherine Durant Catherine Durant
5 min

God often asks us to step outside what is comfortable. But for some, the impact of the cost of living crisis may take our finances from being just a bit tight into a place of extreme difficulty. There’s a challenge to keep trusting God and keep giving when times are hard. Especially when we hear how regular financial giving is crucial for many charities in the UK. For those of us who are in desperate need, we’re going to look at God’s gentle heart towards us in this blog. In particular, we will look at some of the other ways that we can please him during the cost of living crisis.

The sacrifice of a compassionate Saviour

In Isaiah 42, prophesying about Jesus, it says:

A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out. In faithfulness he will bring forth justice

The reed has been damaged but isn’t beyond repair; the wick is scarcely burning and needs fuel to bring it back to life. It could be a good metaphor for how some will feel when the full impact of the cost of living crisis hits. God will do the very opposite of breaking or snuffing out – he knows us in our weakness and he’s tender towards us. He will cherish and restore us back to strength; he will feed us and sustain us until we burn brightly again. 

This might not happen through just a change in circumstances, but it can happen through a greater love for and understanding of Jesus and his sacrifice.

The next verse goes on to say: he will not falter or be discouraged till he establishes justice on earth. Jesus is shown in contrast to us, who do regularly get discouraged. He has already endured the most painful sacrifice on the cross, taking the place we deserved – and he did not falter in doing so. 

As well as being the gentle Saviour who has compassion on our weakness, the good Samaritan who binds up our wounds, he is also our champion who is righting the wrongs in the world until ultimate justice is done. The main thing has never been about what we can give to him – it’s always been about what he’s already done for us on the cross.

The sacrifice of a broken and contrite heart

If we feel we’ve got hardly anything to give, that’s ok, because it’s always our hearts that God is concerned about. We know that it was the widow who put in the tiniest amount who Jesus said gave the most. But it isn’t always financial sacrifice that God is looking for.

In Psalm 51:16-17, which is David’s psalm of repentance and sorrow before God, he says:

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

Again, we see God’s tenderness towards us. It’s not about how much we can give during the cost of living crisis, but the attitude of our heart, coming before him in humility and in need. He loves us to come to him in our weaknesses, sin and worries about our finances.

The sacrifice of praise

The book of Acts tells the story of Simon the sorcerer, who became a new Christian after hearing Philip preach the gospel, along with many in Samaria. But when Peter and John arrive, he sees them praying for people to receive the Holy Spirit and offers money in order to gain that ability too. They tell him in no uncertain terms to repent, and that gifts from God cannot be bought. 

What we have – in knowing Jesus and being given the Holy Spirit, is so much greater than the physical stuff that we can purchase to make our lives better. We have a gift that is so precious that money truly can’t buy.

The enemy wants us to focus on everything we lack instead of everything we have. When we refocus on the spiritual gifts that are available to us, if only we ask for them, and our undeserved eternal future in paradise with God, it changes our frame of mind. 

The writer of Hebrews reminds us of these things, before saying:

Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. (Hebrews 13:15, NIV)

The sacrifice that pleases God is, once again, not necessarily one that causes a heavy financial burden – it’s spending our time in praise and worship of him. That kind of continual thankfulness is transformative for us. It reminds us that without God we would have nothing at all, not even life. It can become the motivation behind our giving, even if we feel like it’s a meagre offering.

God is pleased when we do good and share with others (Hebrews 13:6) but we cannot earn his love by our giving. He may be calling us to grow in trust and give more, but if we’re struggling to look after our own family during the cost of living crisis, it might be wise to give a bit less. 

During the cost of living crisis, there are so many other ways that we can please God. God is most delighted with hearts that love Jesus. He is delighted when we go to him in brokenness, with our sin and our needs. And he is delighted when we acknowledge his majesty in worship.

Cost of living crisis: Further resources

We realise that the cost of living crisis is having an impact on everyone. With this in mind, we’ve put together a number of resources which may help you during this time. Currently there is a Budgeting Guide for all, and a Guide to Giving for Married Couples, with more coming soon. 

If you sign up to receive Generous, our monthly email, we will keep you up to date with all the latest news and resources.

Find out about Stewardship's Cost of Living Response Fund to share the hope of Jesus at a time of crisis. 

Give Hope 

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Written by

Catherine Durant

Catherine wrote and edited for Stewardship for 8 years. Before that, she worked in marketing for a theatre, spent time in mission focused on anti-trafficking in Asia and studied History of Art and English Literature at university.

Her interests are in anything arty – whether it’s visiting galleries, taking photos, going to concerts, or challenging herself to pick up a pencil and draw. She loves nothing more than an in-depth conversation with a friend, especially if there’s a cheese board involved.

She is passionate about the transformative power of the Bible and enjoys helping people dig into God’s Word. Catherine also cares deeply about issues of inequality and justice, particularly around the mistreatment of women.