Each month, we introduce you to a Christian who is on the generosity path, and we ask them what God’s taught them about giving.
This month, meet Shantha R. Singh, a home maker and Raja B. Singh, a Chartered Accountant, living in India.
1. Beyond the Full Tithe.
When preparing to teach about giving, Raja studied Scripture and found three tithes – two annual tithes of ten percent each, and a third tithe of ten percent every third year. “So, on an annual basis, the Jewish people actually gave 23.34 percent plus other offerings!” he says. “I know that we are not bound by the laws of the Old Testament,” Raja explains. “But if, under the law, every Jewish person gave 23.34 percent, how can I give less than that living under grace? That’s when I started increasing my giving. Not because God demands it, but because He’s generous. And then of course the joy of giving makes you increase your giving and not look at the figure!” So Raja and his wife Shantha started at 23.34% and have increased from there. “Our endeavor is to keep seeing that we can increase,” says Raja. (In India, there is no tax deductibility, making the Singhs’ generosity especially inspiring.)
The joy of giving makes you increase your giving and not look at the figure!
2. In Vetting, Start with Accounting Transparency.
As an accountant, Raja starts with the question, “Are they transparent with their accounting?” “In India,” he says, “there are many organizations that are not. “Second, we think about spiritual needs. Material needs matter, but I believe spiritual need is more important. I focus on the needs of eternity. And, third, we leave room for God to show us other things. Maybe an evangelist or a pastor in a difficult situation or an elderly or invalid in dire need, warranting a touch of Christian love.
3. Transparency with Children.
Raja and Shantha have brought their children along on the generosity path. The next generation serves on the Singh’s family Foundation. “There are people that say small children should not know about finance matters. I don’t believe that,” says Raja. “When you share it well, they understand. Both our children, daughter and son, were deeply involved in our financial planning. Once you involve your children in your finance matters, generally, they come on board with the idea of generosity. It’s a great joy to us.
Raja loves to give to:
Raja and Shantha have a passion for evangelism and addressing spiritual needs. Shantha leads Bible studies for cleaning ladies in their neighborhood, and serves prisoners in Mumbai. But their great giving passion is evangelism, which they express, by supporting, amongst others, Gideons. “We actively look also to involve ourselves not just financially, but in other ways where we think we can be used by God to bless a ministry,” Raja says.
For Raja, that means serving as a Speaker or Trainer. “I recently spent two consecutive weeks traveling for the Gideons,” he says. But this generosity of time and talent never replaces financial generosity for Raja. “Financial generosity is the barometer of your spirituality. People can be tricked into overemphasizing generosity by way of giving time, extending hospitality or offering other services. Those are important, but it’s not a substitute for generosity with funds. That means you’re still holding your money too tightly.” When Raja is speaking for the Gideons, which he did almost 40 times last year, his favorite topic is, of course, Generosity.