(The following is an abbreviated transcription from a video Linda and I recorded. Please excuse any typos or errors.)
So, this weekend we were asked to give the offering message at our church. And we were praying about what to talk about since Linda and I were giving the offering message together.
Ultimately, we decided what we wanted to chat about. We wanted to talk about the one simple life hack that we extracted out of the Bible regarding giving.
Essentially, we want to talk about how to make giving fun and easier.
I (Bob) used to hate giving. And never did it cheerfully. But this simple hack has helped me fall in love with giving. It”s been a game changer for us and we know it will be for you too!
Now before we get into all the details, I recorded our discussion that you can listen to on our Podcast below. But, if you would rather read the full transcription, you can do so here in this article!
Linda and Meg Ryan
Bob: So Linda’s hair is looking like little Meg, Ryan, look, what, what movies was she in? In like the eighties early nineties.
Linda: Do I have eighties hair or nineties hair?
Bob: No, just younger Meg Ryan.
Linda: I mean, she was in a lot. Sleepless in Seattle. You’ve got mail.
Bob: She in Sleepless in Seattle? Oh, wow. Yeah, she was kind of the big thing back then, wasn’t she?
Linda: She was the big thing.
Bob: Yeah. So anyway.
Linda: Meg Ryan.
Bob: Meg Ryan.
Linda: I mean, I’ll take that compliment any day.
Linda: That I look like a movie star, doesn’t matter who it is. I’ll take it.
Bob: Well, I’m sure. Anyway.
Giving the offering message at our church
Bob: So, this weekend we were asked to do the offering message at our church. And we were praying about what to talk about. And we ultimately decided we wanted to chat about, Linda and I both did it together, we wanted to talk about one simple life hack that we extracted out of the Bible, that made giving so much more fun for us.
Bob: And really helped make me from hating giving to it being one of my favorite things in life. And even there are multiple things in here. Like God working on my heart over years was a big part of that. But from a practical perspective, I don’t know if there’s anything bigger than what we’re going to talk about here. That helped me move down the line with that.
Linda: Yeah. Well, I often think it’s the little things that seem insignificant, that end up making the biggest difference.
Linda: And so.
Bob: And this is one of those things that, I think…
Linda: This is one of those things that doesn’t seem like it’s that big of a deal.
Bob: If you’re listening to this, please don’t just dismiss this as “oh, well that’s not a big deal,” you know? Because it’s easy to look at that and feel like that’s not going to make that much of a difference. And I understand why you think that.
Bob: Because I thought the same thing, but the truth is is that…
Linda: It makes a huge difference. It’s a really, really big deal. So I mean, it’s something to try and if we’re wrong.
Bob: Yeah. There’s no, there’s no downside.
Linda: There’s no downside.
Bob: And you know, so if you’re in that situation.
Linda: There’s lot to gain.
Bob: If you’re in that situation where you don’t like giving or you want to like giving, you know, because that was something where, where I was for a while too. I think both of us where it’s like, I want to be a giver. I want to be a generous giver. I want to smile when I give, instead of being reluctant or out of compulsion.
2 Corinthians 9:7
Linda: Well, let’s read the scripture. So 2 Corinthians 9:7 says “each one must do just as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion for God loves a cheerful giver.”
Bob: So the point to mention here…
Linda: One translation says “hilarious generosity.”
Linda: God loves hilarious generosity.
Bob: I want to highlight something real quick.
Linda: Oh, go ahead.
We need to decide what we will give
Bob: So what I think is important to notice here, and we’ll come back to this whole idea of he specifically said each one must do as he is decided.
Bob: So do the thing that you have decided to do. So hold that thought. And you run with whatever you’re going to say.
The feelings around giving
Linda: Yeah. I mean the hilarious generosity thing, I kind of feel the hilarious generosity.
Linda: But I didn’t always feel that way.
Linda: I do think that this was a massive shift in helping that happen.
Linda: I grew up in the church. I’ve heard this scripture so many times. And a lot of times it would be around a giving message (check out these 10 famous quotes on giving). And if I’m being honest, I don’t think that this was projected upon me, but I felt guilty when I would hear it. Because what would happen is, I would think, “oh yeah, Lord, I want to give you everything.”
You know, you have this moment where you see how good he is and how faithful he is and you know that you want to serve him with everything. But when it comes time to give, your brain starts going, “Oh shoot, that bill is due this next week.” Or, you know, “We’re going on that trip. And so I don’t know that I have that money to give, I think it’s allocated somewhere else.”
And so you kind of do one of those things where you’re like, “well, I’m just going to give it anyway.” Right? Which is compulsion.
Linda: You’re like, I’ll just give it anyway and I’ll figure it out later. Or you give kind of with a clenched fist just hoping like, “Oh my gosh, this is a bad idea. I have to do it anyway, because I’m trying to obey the scripture.”
Bob: Yeah. But you’re not cheerful giving.
Linda: Yeah. You’re not. It’s not hilarious generosity. Right? Or I just wouldn’t give it all because I would feel like, well, I don’t have it to give. And none of those options felt good to me. Like they all felt against this verse. And so if the Bible’s telling me this, and I’m hearing this and somebody’s like drilling this into my head and these feel like my only options. I feel like a bad Christian.
Bob: And there’s guilt there’s condemnation. All those things are at play. In which one of the things that I’ve observed is that when the guilt and condemnation knob is turned up on your giving, like that doesn’t cause people to give more.
Bob: It causes them give less.
Bob: When people feel shame and feel guilty for not giving more, you might be able to squeeze that a little bit and get a little bit more, but it just, I think it backfires most times.
Linda: Well, I’ll let you read the next scripture and then I’ll comment. I have so much to say, and we didn’t get to say that much in this, in this offering message.
Diving into Paul’s lessons to the church
Bob: Yeah. So okay, back to 2 Corinthians 9:7. It says each one must do as they’ve decided. Okay. So come back to that. So this is 2 Corinthians, but if we remember Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, previous letter to the same church.
Linda: Same church.
Bob: He’s the same guy.
Linda: Same people.
Bob: And so when he’s saying this, you must do as you’ve decided in your heart and talking about all this giving stuff, they’d already read the first letter. Like they had that as a reference point. He had already communicated to them. So this is in addition to that he’s operating it under the assumption that they had seen the previous letter. Okay?
Bob: So what he says at the end of the first letter, 1 Corinthians 16:2, I’ll give you the paraphrase here. But he basically says, as you earn money throughout the week, set it aside. And I think he says on the first day of each week, set it aside. One translation says place it in safekeeping so that when it’s time to give the money is sitting there ready to go.
Linda: Ready to go.
Create a separate giving account
Bob: And what’s so powerful about this, is our practical application of this Like, all right, how can we practically apply this? And so we opened a separate giving account (one of our budgeting categories).
Bob: So at the beginning of every month we take the amount that we have decided, because we decide on a percentage that we’re given each year. And at the beginning of each month when our paycheck comes in, we move that amount that we’ve decided into that account. Place it for safekeeping, like he says. Then when it’s time to give at the offering, or when God leads us towards something, the money’s sitting there waiting to be spent. And it feels like we’re spending someone else’s money.
Bob: Because once we put money in that account, it’s no longer ours. And so it just completely changes the psychology of it. Like this last weekend, our air conditioner went out. When we went to church, it wasn’t this “well, our air conditioner just went out. I’m not sure how much it’s going to cost. So we’re not going to give this week because of that.” Like, whereas we move it into this account once it’s there, it’s already decided upon. And so that doesn’t play into the factor. It’s not a factor in the decision anymore.
Bob: Whether or not we had to buy groceries this week doesn’t affect whether or not we’re going to give.
Bob: And previously when all of our money was in one account, one big bucket, that happened all the time.
Bob: And so we were inconsistent. And it was so much more pressure and it was never fun. I know you want to talk, I’m going to shut up for a minute.
Biblical instruction for giving
Linda: There’s just so much to say. I mean, this is so good. Well, one of the things I really love about this is that for all these years I had heard this scripture and thought there was a finger being pointed at me.
Linda: Like, you better do it this way. Never realizing… like I’ve read the Bible. It’s not like I haven’t read the Bible, but I don’t think I’ve ever realized or heard these two scriptures together.
Linda: Where it’s like God is saying to us through the letter of Paul. The holy spirit is speaking through the Bible saying, “I’m going to tell you exactly how to do this so that you’re not stressed out.” That you’re not just going to compulsively do something. So that you have a plan in place. So that’s what this idea of do what you’ve decided. The way you can do this is because you’re making a plan.
Linda: And all this time, I just thought, “well, I just have to do what I’ve decided.” And, and the pressure was on me to make it happen. And I didn’t know how to do it. I didn’t know how to actually get it done. You know as we were talking about this and I mean, honestly, if I’m being real honest.
Bob: Be real honest.
Linda: I didn’t know about this verse until you brought it up last week.
Linda: As we were preparing for this. We’ve had this seed account, we call it our seed account. We’ve had this giving account for years and years.
Linda: So this is an old idea for me (and us).
Bob: Yeah. We talk about it in the book (Simple Money, Rich Life) It’s in the giving section of the book for anybody who wants to read more about it.
Linda: Right. But the idea that it’s in the Bible of God saying, here’s how you do it. And then he says, okay, remember do what you’ve already decided.
Safekeeping our money
Linda: Like, yes. Do get that money out of that safekeeping. Now the safekeeping I don’t think is from thieves and stuff. Because we can just put money in a bank. Right? I think the safekeeping is keeping it safe from us. Keeping it safe from me wanting to buy a new purse.
Bob: Keeping our grubby little fingers off of it.
Linda: I know.
Bob: You know?
Linda: Or wanting to take my kids to Chick-fil-A. I mean, it doesn’t have to be anything bad, you know? Or anything super selfish. It’s just set it aside so that you’re not tempted to spend it on something else that’s fleeting.
Linda: So yeah, I got really excited about this because I love when the Bible’s wisdom just brings you into this place of freedom. Brings you to this place where you don’t have to give it under compulsion or begrudgingly. You just don’t have to do that. You’re just ready to go. And when you’re ready to go, that’s really when I think the adventure aspect comes in.
Bob: It’s empowering.
Setting yourself up for giving readily
Bob: I think that’s the thing that’s been so fun to me. When you go into the beginning of the month with money sitting in an account, waiting to be spent. You’re on the lookout for what God might have for you to do. And where he might have for you to give and opportunities that he might place in front of you.
Bob: And it just changes everything. It changes the way you think about giving in the, the looseness of your hand.
Linda: Yeah, because you’re no longer going, “Alright, Lord. Okay. I feel your nudge, trying to tell me to do this thing, but I don’t know where I’m going to get this money from.
Linda: Instead of doing that, you’re like, “where is it going, Lord? Where do you have it going?”
Linda: And you just sit, and you just, you know, you can wait until he says that’s it. And then you’re like, got it. I’m on it.
Supernatural provision and breakthrough
Bob: Yeah. And the other thing, I mean, just from my unique perspective of being in a position where I’m talking and hearing from people about money, mostly Christians, for 15 years now. Um, I can tell you with a lot of confidence. When you start giving on higher levels, like your needs are met. It’s the Matthew 6:33 thing. “Seek first a kingdom in his righteousness, and then all the things will be added onto you.” And there’s something, there’s that Parable of the Talents thing of, as you step out doing what you can do, making the most of what you’ve been entrusted with. God tends to entrust you with more.
Bob: It just makes sense. We literally talked to two or three people in the last 24 hours, who have given us stories of this. One girl had never given more than what, $20 a month or something.
Linda: Oh, well she just hadn’t been giving more than $20 a month and she works a full-time job, she’s an adult.
Linda: So to her, she was like, that was 1% of my income or 0.5% of my income. And she said, “when I saw that I was like, forget this. I’m going to actually start tithing.” So she starts tithing. And she had, I don’t know, probably at least five stories that she just randomly told us.
Bob: Supernatural provision and breakthrough.
Linda: She went to go park. Parking was going to be $20 or something. And some guy ran out to her car and said, Hey, if you let my friend go ahead of you, I’ll pay for your parking. And she’s like, “okay.” She just let one car go in front of her and her parking was paid for. I mean, that’s just so out of the blue. I’ve never heard of that happening ever.
Bob: Well, and the promotion that she got. Anyway, the point is that, I’m hearing these stories all the time.
Airing on the side of giving more
Bob: And so for anyone listening if you’re in that situation where you’re like, I don’t know, should I give more? Should I not? I mean, if you’ve read our book…
Linda: You know, where we stand.
Bob: We lean in the direction of always airing on the side of giving more. Because it’s my goal to live the rest of my life, proving out the fact that you cannot outgive God. We’ve seen so much of that.
Shifting the focus outward
Linda: Yeah. Well, and I think something that happens in your heart when you give, too. It’s like you take the focus off of yourself and kind of move it outward.
Linda: And there’s something that just happens in your heart where you’re like all of a sudden, it just has less of a hold on you.
Linda: Like the spirit of mammon.
Linda: It’s just not as present as it was before.
Linda: And I don’t know of any other way to combat that.
Bob: Well, no. I mean, I remember writing about that book too.
Linda: Do you?
Jesus’ prescription for the love of money
Bob: Just how Jesus, in multiple instances when he came across people who loved money and that’s the truth of it.
Bob: They loved money. He prescribed generosity to them, you know? And I think when you understand that, like that was a common remedy that he tossed out there to fight off the love of money.
Bob: The reality is that probably all of us, to some extent, deal with this. You know? Some of us more than others. And we’re all growing in that journey of dealing with a love of money and not making it a big deal. But I think the point that you’re saying that I’m agreeing with is generosity is the thing.
Bob: That continues to ward that off and push that back.
It’s a continued journey
Linda: Yeah, because it is a continual thing (our stewardship journey). I don’t feel like we’ve arrived.
Bob: No, I don’t. I don’t think you ever arrive until you get to heaven.
Linda: I think that this is a constant battle because we live on earth.
Linda: And I wish it wasn’t.
Linda: But I do think that it’s interesting that even, you know, with us giving a significant portion of our income. We’re still not like, “Yep. That was it. We did it. We’re there.” It’s still something that honestly, I feel like I have to just go, ” Okay, Lord. I’m thinking about myself a little too much.”
Bob: Yeah. And it puts us in a place of dependence on him.
Bob: Which is where he wants us. To be dependent on him.
Bob: Because it could easily be prideful of “we got this giving thing down,” you know?
The truth about Instagram influencers
Linda: Seriously, I did ask Bob not long ago. I was like looking at all these influencers and I was like, “How are they affording all this stuff?” Now we’re not living on the poverty line, but you look at these people and you’re like, how are they renovating their house every other month? And buying all new furniture. And all new clothes. And their kids have all new clothes that they wear them once, and then they’re gone. And new cars, nice cars (check out our used car buying tips). And I mean, it really gets excessive. This influencer portrayed ideal life isn’t reality for most people.
Linda: I think a lot of those people have things given to them.
Bob: Well, and I don’t know.
Linda: We know enough to know that that’s how it works.
Bob: I don’t know how far you’re going or who you’re looking at in particular. But there’s no doubt that plenty of them are renting things. Or like, remember that documentary we saw? Where they were talking about those influencers? They’re renting a private jet by the hour to make it look like they have a private jet.
Linda: Oh my gosh.
Bob: And I know that like exotic cars (even dream cars), you can do that too.
Linda: Well, yes. But also I think when you’re on Instagram, they all get combined. So even if it’s like this one influencer only just bought a new house. And then it’s like 10 years before they buy another one.
Linda: It seems like they’re buying a new house every other day though, because I’m following all these influencers. But anyway. I was like, how are they affording all this stuff? And Bob’s sakd, “they’re probably not giving. They’re probably just spending most of it on themselves.” And I was like, oh.
Bob: Yeah. Well and debt, combination (here’s how to get out of credit card debt on your own).
Linda: And debt. Yeah.
We’ve chosen to run a different race
Linda: And it woke me up to like, “oh right. We just don’t live that way.”
Bob: No, we’ve chosen to run a different race. That’s not our top priority.
Bob: And God’s taking care of us and we’ve been able to have some nice things in the process. But that’s not our priority. It’s not what we’re chasing after.
Linda: Yeah. And I didn’t mean that to sound like we’re living like paupers. Honestly, I think we have a very nice life. But I think because there’s all this stuff online and it makes you feel like what you have is not enough (stop trying to keep up with the Joneses!).
Bob: Yeah. The eyes of men are never satisfied, there’s no limit.
Linda: Like they’re going on trips all the time (check out howwe travel for free). First of all, where are they getting all these babysitters? That’s what I’d like to know. But anyway. I do think that getting your focus off of that and focusing on someone else. How can we help someone else, really combats that idea.
Wrapping things up and your homework
Bob: All right. So let’s, put a bow in this.
Linda: Let’s put a bow on it.
Bob: Kind of pulling all this back together. Yeah, just trust us on this.
Linda: Just do it.
Bob: If you haven’t tried this, I encourage you to try it. Follow Paul’s advice. Go read 1 Corinthians 16:2, look at it in a couple different translations. Look at it in The Passion Translation, or it’s not a translation it’s a paraphrase, TPT. Look it up in there. And give this a shot, because I challenge you for two or three months to try this. And let us know if we’re wrong.
Linda: We won’t be. Spoiler alert!
Bob: Send us a DM on Instagram, @seedtime. I’d love to hear how that goes for you. Because like I said, this has been a game changer for us. I used to hate giving. I used to be one of tightest-fisted, stingiest people that I knew. And this was a big part of that change.
Bob: So, that’s your homework. Try that, come back to us report back in a couple months. Let us know how it goes. And I think that’s it.
You can help us
Linda: And put it in a review on iTunes.
Bob: Put in a review on iTunes. Yes, that’d be awesome.
Linda: Because really, if you did that and then somebody read that, you’re contributing into…
Bob: Yeah. You’re helping.
Linda: Right. Changing people’s perspective on this, which really needs to happen. Because this whole thing of money, I feel like in the kingdom of God it needs to get sorted out so that we are focused on the right thing. Instead of being focused on money, it’s so easy to do.
Linda: Is to just focus on your money.
Bob: Because that’s what most of the world is doing. But we don’t take our cues from the world though.
Linda: We do not.
Bob: We don’t. Anyway. I think that’s all for tonight.
Linda: That’s all.
Bob: Have a wonderful day.
Linda: Today, tonight.
Bob: Today, tonight. Whenever you’re listening.
Linda: Whenever, yeah.
Linda: It’s tonight for us.
Bob: And we’ll see you next time.