After publishing Gospel Patrons, one of the most frequent questions I’ve received from readers has been: “What do I do now?” And I have hesitated to answer that… until now. Gospel Patrons was about how God uses generous people to change the world. Giving Together is about how we become those kinds of people. Gospel Patrons was a book of vision. Giving Together is a book of action. I want to give you a sneak peak into the ten convictions driving this book.
1. God is the greatest giver. The repeated chorus of Scripture is that the God of the Bible is rich and generous. God doesn’t need our money. So Giving Together will not guilt you to give more. Instead, it’s an invitation to learn to be generous as God is generous and bear the family resemblance of our Father in heaven.
2. Giving is about our hearts. Jesus talked more about money and possessions than anything else. He understood the pressures and anxieties we all face. He also knew the pull of the world to make money our ultimate goal. And he wants more for us than that. Jesus wants to train each of us to use the money he’s given us in a way that honors him, loves people, and sets our hearts free. Giving is about more than money; it’s about our hearts.
3. Giving increases our joy. Generous people are happy people. Jesus promised it and studies of all different kinds have proven this. Giving Together will help you take your next steps on this adventure and experience more joy.
4. Giving draws us closer to God. We see in Scripture that God has a heartbeat of generosity. The more we learn to give like him, the closer we come to God’s heart. Giving also melts away our focus on ourselves and we begin to live as we were made to live, for the glory of God and the good of others.
5. Giving connects us to our purpose. History is not just made by preachers and missionaries. God has used generous people from all kinds of professions to advance his kingdom – and he’s not done yet. Giving is a way to get in the game and join God’s work in the world.
6. We need a fresh start with money. You and I have heard thousands of sermons on money. TV, movies, magazines, ads, books, friends and parents have all been preaching about it. Our views of money have been shaped more by the world than by the word of God. We need a reset in our relationship with money – a reset with God as our foundation.
7. We need to talk honestly about money. Money is something we think about all the time, but rarely talk about, even with the people closest to us. But the first step to any change is to start talking. If you want to get in shape, you join a gym or hire a personal trainer and start talking about your fitness goals. If you want to improve your marriage you’ll attend a weekend seminar or meet with a marriage therapist so you can talk honestly about how to grow. This is how growth works, so if we want to be people who grow in generosity, we have to start talking about money and giving.
8. Now is the time to learn about giving. We can keep telling ourselves we’ll give later, but there will always be a later. Now is the time to learn to be faithful with what we have. Generosity is not something for other people richer than us. We all have the opportunity to be givers, whether we have a lot or a little, because generosity is not an amount; it’s a mindset. Now is the time to adopt a generous mindset.
9. We learn to give by giving. It’s not enough to read a book about exercise or watch exercise videos. At some point you have to put the book down and do something. The same is true in giving. The real learning happens in the doing. So after reading and talking about generosity, I want you to practice it. At the end of every chapter there will be one simple way you can apply it.
10. We need a team around us. Matt Walker, an international mountain guide, has said, “Without great companionship we may have amazing experiences, but we don’t walk away with an adventure.” I want you to have a life-changing adventure and that begins by inviting others to join you. You could start with your family, a few friends, your small group from church, a book club, a prayer group or a few colleagues from work. Tell them this will be more than a discussion group. It’s meant to be an adventure you go on together.