Overcoming Barriers To Giving

There are often excuses or barriers to giving.  For some, it’s never the right time because of being in debt.  For others, they can’t give because they’re not earning enough money yet.  And still for others, they can’t give because it would put their budget out of balance considering expenses.

But the truth is giving is not at all about being in the perfect financial situation or right timing to begin.  I believe giving is about priorities.  It’s about forgetting ourselves and putting our focus on a greater need and purpose first in our finances.

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Generous Giving is a ministry I recently came across focused on that greater purpose.

Their vision is stated as:  “dedicated to transforming the hearts and minds of God’s people for revolutionary generosity that changes our world.”

GivingThey have an excellent giving resource page that lists 42 excuses or barriers why people choose not to give.  Not only does the page provide the excuses, it also lists their response to them.  After reading through the list, I thought I would highlight a few that are most common.

Some Common Giving Excuses

I would like to give, but I’d have to work another job or drastically cut back my standard of living.

This might be the barrier or excuse for people who may have built a standard of living they don’t want to change.  I think there is always an opportunity to give.  It takes sacrifice, and perhaps cutting back on lifestyles in which people can become emotionally tied.

Stewardship is a lot more than money. I give my time and talents by teaching Sunday school and opening my home. I consider that to be my giving.

I think this is a common barrier in financial giving in that as long as work is being performed there is not a need to give financially.  The truth, which is explained, is Stewardship is more than money, but it “is never less than money.”  We can’t ignore the fact that God has called us to be wise money managers and users of our money.  Matthew 6:21 plainly tells us where our money is, so will our heart be.

I don’t give to the poor because I already give to my church.

In Matthew 25:40 we learn that gifts given to the needy are also gifts that are given to Jesus.  The answer goes on to explain that once you are a Christian, gifts in which we are giving to the needy or poor are simply channels of giving back to Him.

The tithe does not apply to Christians today, only to Old Testament Israel.

I know there can be a lot of controversy over this statement.  I’ve heard Crown Financial Ministries refer to the tithe as “a good starting point.”  The opinion of Generous Giving is the same.  I think considering the 10% as a starting point is the right approach, in my opinion.

That being said, the focus shouldn’t be on the number because we can forget about the true purpose behind giving which is out of love, generosity and wanting to invest in the growth of God’s kingdom.  I think for many who are committed to giving and using the tithe or 10% as a starting point, they find they can also give in excess of that number out of their joy and love for giving.

5 Ways To Overcome Giving Barriers

No matter the excuse or barrier, there is usually a way to get around it by essentially prioritizing giving as the most important component of your spending plan.  I believe for Christians, this is paramount.

1. Remove logic

We could always stop and logically reason that the money being used for tithing could help pay off more debt or increase the balance of our savings.  But the act of giving involves trust and faith in that enough will be provided to do these other things as well.

2. Accept a giving challenge

I once heard an interesting challenge.  Begin tithing or giving a minimum of 10% and stop if you haven’t received an increase or your needs met in six months.  While I can’t prove the results for others, I can say our family has experienced increase and our needs have been met.

3. Reprioritize

How would you define your spending priorities?  Have you looked at your checking account lately and added up where all your money is going?  You can quickly identify your money priorities by adding up the spending in different areas and look at them each as a percentage of the whole.  If for example, your house payment is 45% of your take home pay, you can easily reason that having more house is a higher priority perhaps than giving.

4. Eliminate debt to give more

I have seen many situations in which debt stands in the way of giving.  Eliminating debt frees people from bondage and allows them the freedom to do more with their resources.  I believe if you’re in debt, you should still give.

5. Downsize

As a Christian, I believe giving is priority number one.  It creates a stronger relationship with God.  If it means downsizing homes or cars to reasonable portions of the family spending plan, then I believe it should be done in order to give.

Final Thoughts

If you’re familiar with the Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps you may or may not know that Dave encourages people to give or tithe before step 1.  I once heard him state in his show that a Christian should give first and then start the Baby Steps.

If you’re not giving today, I think you will find giving is a component of finding financial peace or freedom in that there is a great weight removed when you shift your top priority towards giving.

I truly believe giving helps enable God to do His part to work in the area of our finances.   There is something about removing our logic and putting forth faith and trust in God to provide or replenish what has been given to him in order to meet other financial goals.

How have you overcome giving barriers or excuses?  Let us know in the comments.

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Last Edited: 26th July 2013

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  1. says

    As I understand it, the Bible says we must “tithe”. Which in a nutshell means 10%. What a lot of people fail to realize is that your time counts too.

    This should be factored into the overall “giving” plan.

    The second point is that for me, the biggest issue is deciding who to give to. Obviously, we can’t give to everyone. I try to limit myself to my church and a few causes I firmly believe in, and politely turn down the rest. As long as I know that I’m meeting the standards set forth in the Bible, I think I’m doing alright.

    Great post

  2. says

    @David:

    Where does the Bible say Christians are required to tithe? And where in the Bible is your time included in the tithe that you say the Bible requires?

    The New Covenant God created after Jesus’ death gave us much better giving guidelines that require constant prayer and discernment. Why don’t we stick with those rather than going back under the Law?

  3. says

    I agree with Paul in regard to the tithe. A couple of points on this.

    First, in Ancient Israel, there was no separation of church and state as we understand it today, and the religious leaders were also political, legal and civic leaders. The tithe was a tax to support this institution. We have no modern equivalent to that institution, and since Jesus came we are called be a priesthood of believers. That’s an informal priesthood in which our effort is required in addition to our finances.

    Second, the issue I have with a 10% rule is that not everyone can afford it. If I can’t afford 10%, but I can afford 5%, I may not give out of the misconception that my contribution is insufficient or unbiblical. That isn’t what Jesus said in regard to the women giving the widows mite. Also, where a wealthy person might have little trouble giving 10% (or 20 or 30) a poor person mignt be straining to offer 2 or 3%.

  4. says

    TITHING IS THE BIBLICAL STANDARD, THE MINIMUM STARTING POINT AND/OR “IT’S A GOOD PLACE TO START”

    This lie is built on two false assumptions: (1) that everybody in the OT was required to begin their level of giving at 10% and (2) that everybody in the OT gave 10% of all increase as a tithe.

    First, only those Israelites who earned a livelihood from farming and herding clean animals inside Israel were required to tithe under the Mosaic Law. All sixteen (16) of sixteen (16) Bible texts which describe the contents of tithes porve tihis point. The tithe increase only came from God’s miracle hand. Second, those whose increase came from their own crafts and skills were not required to tithe products and money. The poor and needy who did not tithe and received from the tithe gave freewill offerings. See my book, chapter one and my essay, point two.

  5. says

    Jason, great post. Tithing is one area that my wife and I were sorely lacking in. In the past year and a half we have been much better with our giving – and it is amazing how God blesses us when we’re faithful.

    In the past I tithed begrudgingly and my heart wasn’t in the right place. Only when I started doing it regularly and with a heart of seeing my giving as an act of worship was I able to do it joyfully. Now the act of giving God back some of what he has given me is a lot of fun!

    i really do think that when we give, it is only to our benefit – it’s for our own good! When we don’t – we miss out!

  6. says

    Thanks, Pete. And thanks for sharing your story. Interestingly you overcame a barrier which didn’t necessarily keep you from giving, but kept you from giving joyfully. I think that’s probably a barrier for many people. Ultimately, I hope and pray people will overcome their barriers and see giving as an act of worship, as you stated, and experience an awesome thing by putting God first in their finances.

  7. says

    “Give and ye shall recieve!”
    I can back you up Jason on the giving challenge, because I have experienced it. I think if we wait till we have “enough” inorder to start giving, it would never happen, there are always needs and wants in life. Giving is a sacrifice. You sacrifice your needs and wants for someone else. And whereas you can just give money, there are so many other things you can give, especially your time and actual presence with people in need, sometimes its not just about the money, I think people would want to know you care by your presence.
    Keep Giving :)

  8. says

    Giving to our church is the first item my wife and I code into our monthly budget. It takes precedence over everything else. God has blessed us with so much and giving helps me remain humble and content.

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