Situation: How to set a giving goal?
The same question came to us from three different friends in Africa this month.
“I want you to possibly give guidance on how to set a giving goal,” wrote Waziri from Nigeria.
“I need more light on how to set a giving goal,” said Dairya, also from Nigeria.
And Gugu from South Africa asked for “guiding on how to decide to set a giving goal.”
So we contacted our dear friend, Michael Blue, Executive Director and General Counsel of the Ron Blue Institute. He had these great insights to share. (The rest of this post is from Michael. Thanks, Michael!)
We set goals for all kinds of financial issues, but when it comes to giving we usually don’t think about setting goals. When we stop to think about this, it should give us pause to wonder why we don’t dream more about our giving. Giving brings great joy, so why not have big dreams about how and where we’d like to give if God provides the resources? With this in mind, let’s look at how you set a giving goal.
Giving brings great joy, so why not have big dreams about how and where we’d like to give if God provides the resources?
Scripture: What passages should guide our giving goal?
Two passages from Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth help inform the process of setting a giving goal:
2 Corinthians 9:7-8 says,
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.”
2 Corinthians 8:10-12 says,
“And in this matter I give my judgment: this benefits you, who a year ago started not only to do this work but also to desire to do it. So now finish doing it as well, so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a person has, not according to what he does not have.”
Both of these passages point to the desire to give arriving before the actual gift is given. I believe that God usually works this way in our hearts. He gives us a desire, and then later gives us a way to complete that desire. This is why it is important to be constantly asking God what He wants us to do with our resources and for whom He is burdening our heart.
In these two passages, Paul is encouraging the church in Corinth to complete a gift they had promised to give to the church in Jerusalem. When first presented with the need of the Jerusalem church, the people in Corinth had enthusiastically promised to help, but for some reason they had become hesitant. In light of this hesitancy, Paul encouraged these believers in the following ways:
- Give how God moves your heart
- Once you are ready to give, don’t hesitate
- Once you give, God will fill you with His grace and joy
Steps: Make in concrete and share it with others
From these passages, I think we can draw the following conclusions about how to set giving goals:
- Begin by asking God to move your heart for what moves His and for wisdom to discern His leading
- As God moves you in giving, write it down and start telling people you trust about how God is moving you (the Corinthians told Paul their desire and he was able to encourage them in completing it)
- Move in faith toward what God is leading you to give and to whom and watch as He opens doors and provides the resources
- Rejoice in God’s grace that abounds to you
One of the most practical things we can learn from these passages is that if the Corinthians had never set their goal to give and had never told Paul about it, they could never have been encouraged/challenged to step out in faith and trust God by taking Him at His word. God promises us that ALL grace will abound to us when we give in accordance with how He is moving our hearts. I encourage you to take the step of faith and set some giving goals. Then sit back and watch as God opens doors and provides opportunities.
Michael Blue is the Executive Director and General Counsel for the Ron Blue Institute. He is the editor/co-author of two books, Master Your Money and God Owns It All. Michael lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and three boys. They love spending time in the outdoors with each other and love being a part of a small community church in southwest Austin, Southwest Bible Church, where Michael serves as an elder.