Intentional Voice

Follow the P’s of Giving to a Happy and Healthy Outlook on Life! (January 2023)

Financial Freedom

Various studies have found that generosity can lead to a happy and healthier life, but perhaps the best reason to strive to be a generous person is because “God loves a cheerful giver” 

(2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV). Increasing your generosity financially is easier when you have a giving plan based on sound principles. Frequently individuals have a plan for saving, investing, or spending, but it’s rare to find someone with an intentional giving plan. Why is this the case? While many may have the best of intentions they simply fail to integrate giving into their financial plan. Thankfully, a few simple principles can help any individual or family meet their giving goals and move from an attitude of scarcity to a life of generosity. We call these principles the P’s of Giving, which are adopted from Fields of Gold by Andy Stanley.

Priority: For most families, giving is something you do with the leftovers. Generous people make giving a priority. They are willing to give first, save second, and spend the rest. Giving your “first fruits” is not a new concept. God shared this principle with Moses after delivering the Ten Commandments, which makes me think it deserves our attention! Are you giving before or after you spend?

Percentage: Consider measuring your giving by a percentage rather than total dollars. I often meet individuals giving the same amount as they did 20 years ago. Their income has grown, but they increased their standard of living rather than their standard of giving. Not sure how much to give? Consider our 10+1 rule. Strive to donate 10% of your income and 1% of your assets each year. This formula reflects the teaching which says to “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your crops” (Proverbs 3:9 NIV). In this verse, “wealth” represents your assets, and “all your crops” represents your income. What percentage of your income and assets would you like to give?

Progressive: We cannot always meet our giving goals today. However, by progressively increasing our giving percentage, we can get closer over time. A consistent increase in your giving allows you to financially “sneak up” on yourself. Before you know it, you give more than you ever thought possible. I once heard a testimony from a couple who started giving 10% of their income when they married. They grew that percentage over time and now give over 90% of their income while living on less than 10%. How much more will you give next year?

Prompted: Never let your plan get in the way of generosity’s emotional and inspirational components. Leave room in your giving plan for unexpected giving opportunities that touch your heart. These inspired gifts can take many forms. Some individuals and families enjoy giving to friends or strangers in need rather than qualified charities. Jesus and his disciples received support from wealthy women responding to a need they could never have foreseen. Can you imagine what joy these generous women experienced through their giving? Whatever the reason and whatever the amount, leave space to give as you are inspired. What causes have you recently felt prompted to support?

Any time is a great time (but especially at the beginning of a new year) to evaluate your current situation, goals, and giving plan for 2023, using the P’s of Giving as your guide. By developing a giving strategy, you will find new opportunities to experience the joy of generosity.

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John Moore Associates, an investment adviser with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is not affiliated with Family Life Radio. Any opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of John Moore Associates or Family Life Radio.