It’s one of the more baffling pieces of building wealth, but the act of giving is a part of gathering wealth. Give it away and you surprisingly get more.
I’ve written about this before in the Paradox of Service, so I won’t harp on it too much this time. I have to admit though, it took me a long time to buy into this principle, perhaps because I didn’t learn it early on. I practiced sharing. I pooled and shared money in my marriage. I shared and gave as a parent. But I didn’t really give substantially beyond my own family. I always figured that there wasn’t any money left over to give.
Sure, I’d give token contributions to fund raiser drives at work for the American Cancer Society or for diabetes research or a donation to a wildlife organization. I’d drop a few bucks in the offering plate at church if I had a few dollars in my pocket, but that was about it. I didn’t have any extra money.
Then, one day about 12 years ago, I was sitting in church listening to the pastor go on and on about tithing 10%. The same old ‘Baptist’ schtick, I figured. But that day, I heard the pastor differently. I was in a very different period of my life. My kids were grown and married. I had recently bought a Harley. I did have a little more money to myself than I usually did. So as I listened, I found that I couldn’t use the same rationale that I didn’t have any extra money. I did. But what the pastor was saying was that we should give the first 10% of our income to the Lord. I had extra money, but 10%?! Really?! That would definitely cut into my fun-money. Yet his words that day stuck to my heart and worked at me for the next few days.
I estimated what kind of figure we’re talking about here and no matter what a person’s income is, 10% is a bunch of money! So I calculated that I was taxed around 20% of my income. Take that out of my paycheck. Take about 15% out of my pay for savings. Take another 8% for my retirement. Wait a minute – I’m already down to less than 60% of my take-home pay. And now I’m going to take it down to 50% by giving another 10% to the church?
But the Bible says that I’m going to reap what I sow. That which I give away, He will return much more. Check out this verse:
“…Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” Malachi 3:10
Alright. I decided there and then I was going to do it. I was hearing that I had the system backwards. Instead of giving what was left over, I was now going to give first, before I did anything else with my money. Before I paid any bill or made a savings deposit, I was going to give away 10% to the church. I began giving 10% each payday by sitting at the computer and donating on-line. And you know what happened? Twelve years later, I am still amazed to report that the principle holds true and I have more expendable income, more blessings and more appreciation for my Lord Jesus Christ than I could have ever imagined.
This isn’t about boasting or any of that crap. It’s a principle that goes with wealth. Give and you will receive. Give away that which you wish to receive. Give as much as you can or as little as you can. The point is – give. Be generous. Be charitable. Obey a command from God. You’ll be rewarded and you’ll be as surprised as me at the results.
Contrary to political rhetoric, the wealthiest people I know are incredibly generous. They give to their family. They give to Public Broadcasting. They give to cancer research foundations. They sponsor the arts. They don’t hoard their money as they are portrayed in the press. They buy things. They invest in things. They give their money away to all kinds of organizations. They also keep it low key most of the time so it often goes unnoticed. Take a look at Bill Gates, Oprah, or Bono – they’re pretty public about their giving. Bill Gates, recognized as one of the richest men in history, has vowed to give his entire fortune away before he dies. The mega-wealthy throughout history give. When they don’t, their business suffers and so do the people in their periphery. The CEO’s, executives, managers, employees and the business owners that I personally know who are wealthy, give generously.
Giving is essential.
Let’s wrap this one up by combining the first 4 tips that I’ve written about. First, get a job and get some income. Save a portion of that paycheck. Don’t let credit cards enslave you – pay them off. Then, start giving some of that wealth away.
All kinds of blessings are headed your way!
Up next: Investing