Only a few years ago, money was my number one lust. Giving it away definitely wasn’t on my radar.
But lucky for me, generosity is an acquired skill. A skill that can be learned by anyone.
Here are the four stages you must travel through as you grow in generosity…
The 4 Stages of Giving:
Giving is a chore.
I’d just given my life to Christ. I now felt the compulsion to give to my church. It was uncomfortable and I didn’t like it.
For me, this stage was filled with 2 emotions–regret and greed. Regret said, “But Larry, you haven’t even paid off your credit cards yet.” Greed said, “Do you realize what stuff you could buy with this money?”
This is the one stage that can’t be skipped. You will experience these emotions on the road to generous. And when you do, know you’re heading in the right direction…
Giving is a habit.
About a year into my generosity journey, giving went from being “unusual” to the new “normal.” It’s just what I did. Without thinking about it too much, giving became part of my personal process.
Each time I got paid, I gave. It was that simple.
Greed still reared its head sometimes, maybe even often, but I no longer felt like my arm was being twisted. I actually started to like it.
The idea of serving the Lord (and others) through my giving made me happy. My heart was slowly being changed even though I didn’t realize it at the time.
If you’ve made it to Stage 2–habitual giving–you’ve made it to a place that most people, even Christians, never experience. This is where the fun really starts. God is about to use you in ways you’ve never imagined. Stick with it.
Giving is a priority.
I don’t exactly remember when I entered this stage. I just know that at some point, giving became the most important thing I did with my finances each month.
And it wasn’t about the “tithe” or some legalistic approach to generosity…my family and I had already moved beyond that. It was about using what God had placed in my hands to accomplish His goals.
The money was no longer mine. It was His. I’d finally come to that realization.
In Stage 3 your faith grows muscles…BIG muscles.
You put your trust in God despite the perceived cost. Few ever make it here.
In this stage, God uses you for His miracles. You start living life differently and seeing the world through a servant’s eyes. But this isn’t where the journey ends. You’re about to become a conduit for the supernatural. Keep pushing. It gets even better.
Giving is a hunger.
It was 2011 and the economy was in shambles. From a human perspective, what my wife and I did didn’t make much sense. But we knew the Holy Spirit was prompting us to take action. So we did it.
We helped a complete stranger buy a car.
Outside of my wife’s engagement ring, it was the largest gift I’d ever given anyone. It still is. And here’s the kicker, I don’t even know the person’s name.
The 30 months that have followed have been the greatest season of abundance in my life. My family has been faithful with a little, and now God is allowing us to be faithful with even more.
Stage 4 is reserved for RADICAL disciples.
You no longer ask, “How much should I give?” Instead, you ask, “How much should I keep?”
You realize that despite worldly circumstances, the economy in Heaven is doing just fine.
You realize that God now trusts you with His money, so you listen intently and wait for Him to open bigger doors to give. You get a boxed seat for God’s miracles…not so that you can be glorified, but so that He can.
This is a stage experienced by a rare few, but it’s open to all.