How do we balance saving and giving?
Crown Ministries CEO Chuck Bentley offers wise advice on the biblical principle of generosity from his book .
Developing a savings plan is an important aspect of getting our financial house in order, and is often a prelude to generosity. Chuck points us towards Genesis 41,
“I’ve tied my plan of savings to what Joseph recommended in Egypt. That was for a limited period of time he said, ‘Let’s save twenty percent of the grain for seven years.’
“If you do the math that equals 140% of your income, I think beyond that, there’s no biblical justification for saving money beyond that level. That is in the worst case scenario.”
Although it is wise to have a savings plan, Chuck also encourages us to be generous as Christians. Furthermore, he adds, that giving is a major part of the Christian experience.
“It’s the highest and best use of money. For a nation that believes in freedom, believes in meritocracy and believes in capitalism, it has to be tempered by a personal desire and a personal responsibility to be liberally charitable; to be hilariously generous.”
Generosity in caring for one another is part of how God intends for His people to live.
“That’s how I think God intended for society to take care of one another. I don’t think it was ever intended to be a government program; it was a personal responsibility which challenges our greedy hearts.
“It also gives us the joy of being involved. So it’s not just a financial transaction, that’s all that the government is offering, but God offers a relational transaction.”
We are reminded of a valuable principle taught in the parable of the good Samaritan.
“He says, ‘Go and help the brother, go and help your neighbor;’ not just to pay for their bills, but to truly give them that personal touch and that assistance.”
“I think we have to temper these philosophies with this biblical underpinning of what God says is good for us. That is sort of the holistic view.”
Saving money may help us through crisis situations, but hoarding money is worthless. Chuck describes the fleeting nature of money,
“Save enough money to get through the crisis, but then go into investing so that you’re not just hoarding it. Because even money can one day become totally worthless.
“I have friends in Zimbabwe who saved money all their life, they had four pension plans, and when their currency collapsed, they went out to lunch and couldn’t afford to buy a cold drink with it…that was their life savings.”
By understanding the importance of giving, our priorities will better reflect the heart of God and His lasting principles.