Andy Stanley - Live Generous
Yeah, listen to all the ladies clapping. That's exactly right. Yeah, Sandra would say it this way, "I think that's where Andrew learned it," she would say. And she still says, she says, "Andy, you need to understand, what's mine is mine, and what's yours is mine". That sounds good. I know. It actually works better that way. So, speaking of money, let's use our imaginations for a moment. I want you to imagine that you woke up this morning, or we'll say tomorrow morning. You wake up tomorrow morning and you find you have a checking account. And in that checking account is all the money you've wasted so far in your life. Yeah, that's a lot of money.
Now, let me be specific about wasting. I mean, the money you bad-habited away. In fact, you bad-habited a lot of money away, now you're trying to break the bad habit and you're still spending money. You're trying to pay all the money you bad-habited away. The money you consumer-debted away like you borrowed money on stuff, you don't even have the stuff. You might still be making payments or you just look back and go, "That's just embarrassing". Whatever happened to that thing-ed away you know, you bought, you paid, you bought this thing, you don't even know what happened to the thing, the money you spent on that. But only wore it onced away, ladies, you got, and you only wore it once. It looked so good, and then you wore it once, thought, "I hate that," or you saw somebody else in it and they're looking awful, so you thought you looked it.
So, it's still in your closet, and you're just like if you, so imagine, I could go on and on. Imagine, all, if suddenly you woke up with a checking account and it had cash for all the stuff you'd wasted money on your whole life. But here's the catch. But the only thing you could do with that money is, give it away. You could give it away immediately, or you could give it away over time, but wouldn't it be fun to have a checking account with all that money you'd wasted and you have to give it away, either immediately or overtime. You know what, that would just be fun. So, hang onto that thought, we'll come back to it in just a minute.
Today, if you're just joining us, we are in Part Five of a six-part series entitled You'll Be Glad You Did: Timeless Advice for Trouble Time. So, this is a series just about advice. And the reason we're doing this series is that we've all lived long enough to have made some decisions we're glad we made. We've all lived long enough to have developed some good habits that we were glad we developed. We've all lived long enough to have some regrets and face the consequences of some bad decisions and some bad habits. In other words, and this is where the title came from, we all have stories. We all have stories that end with either, "I'm so glad I did," or "I certainly wish I had," or "I'm so glad I didn't," or "I wish I hadn't".
So, what we're doing in this series? This is a series of unoriginal, "You'll be glad you did," advice. It's just an Advice Series. These are not moral or ethical imperatives. These are not rules you have to keep but if you'll take this advice, this advice will keep you from breaking the rules that have the potential to break you, to break your heart, or as you're gonna see today, keep you from going broke. This advice like the advice you give, because we all give people advice whether they want it or not. We've all given advice. This advice sits between the rules. So, this is not moral versus immoral, legal versus illegal. This is not right versus wrong. This is just what we're calling wisdom. Wisdom sits between the rules. Wisdom are the insights that are informed by the fact or the knowledge that life is connected. Insights informed by the knowledge that life is connected, that today leads to tomorrow, that what you're facing and dealing with today is the result of decisions you made yesterday. That one thing leads to another.
So in this series so far, we've given you three pieces of advice. Number one, the first piece of advice was listen. Then we talked about forgive. And then, last time we were together, we talked about defer. If you are married or engaged or wanna be engaged, or trying to make a relationship go the distance, and you missed last time we were together, you really need to go back and listen to or watch Defer. But my unoriginal in some ways, learn the hard way advice for today is not one word. Today it's two words. And the two words are, Live Generous. Live generous, now real quick, to all the grammar people out there, yes, it should be live generously, but I left the LY off on purpose because for the next few minutes, I want to contrast the idea of Be Generous with Live Generous. And the reason is, all of us know how to be in the moment, generous. Generous in the moment. But what we're talking about today is different than be generous in the moment.
This type of giving, the kind of giving we're gonna talk about is in fact, life giving. If you will take the advice I'm gonna give you today, you're gonna save more money. You're gonna give more money. You're gonna consume less, and maybe the best of the best outcome of all is you will be less consumed by what you have, by what you don't have, what you want, and what you ultimately hope to have someday. Because we don't just live in a consumer culture, we are consumed by, oftentimes, our consumption because we know what everybody else has. And not only do we know what everybody else has, we know what we could potentially have, and it's so easy to get. I mean, it's just crazy.
I don't need to spend a lot of time there, but goodness gracious, you almost think about it. And it shows up an hour later or two hours later, they bring it to your door in a little white bag, and hand it to you. It's just amazing. So consequently, it is easy for us to be consumed by our consumption, which just ultimately consumes us, and it ultimately makes us, and if you're a person of faith, or a Christian, this is so important. Ultimately, even if we can afford it, it causes us to become more and more self-centered, which is the antithesis of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
So today, for the next few minutes, I'm going to attempt to teach you how to live generous, and to motivate you to live generous. Not how to give. You already know how to give. Everybody knows how to give. In fact, the proud part of the problem is that Americans easily confuse generosity with what we'll just call random acts of giving. But random acts of giving is not generosity. Random acts of giving is random acts of giving. And the way to understand the difference is similar to how we all consider ourselves good people. I mean, you're a good person, right? If I were to say, "Are you a good person"? "I'm a good person". And if I were to say to you, "You know, I don't think you are a good person," here's what you would do. You would immediately tell me about something you did good, "Because I did that, I'm a good person," right?
This is why you cannot win an argument with your spouse. If you're married, you cannot win an argument with your spouse because whatever, whatever, this is kind of different topic, we could; this should have been last week, the last time we were together. But whatever you accuse him or her of, or of doing or not doing, they can point to a moment in time when they did the thing you said they never do, or didn't do the thing you said they always do. Okay. You could always, in other words, "What do you mean I don't help around the house"? "Two weeks ago. I emptied the dishwasher without being asked, okay. Game over, see, I do help around the house".
See this, well, do we do the same thing with giving? So, I'm gonna press you a little bit today, okay, in to try to convince you that you're not really generous, even though you do random acts of giving. And when I begin to press you, in your mind, you're gonna be like, "Oh, I'm generous," and you're gonna think of something you gave or a time that you said yes when somebody asked. That's not what we're talking about. That's random acts of giving. Most Americans participate in some way of random acts of giving. This is just not that. And our confusion regarding generosity, I think, in some ways is fueled by four generosity myths that permeate our culture. We don't know when we begin thinking this way, but these are complete, complete myths. So, this is gonna help you differentiate, so I'll hit these real fast.
Myth number one, we've already talked about the generous is spontaneous. Generosity is not spontaneous. Spontaneity is spontaneous, right? Giving spontaneously just means you're spontaneous. Not necessarily generous, because greedy people will give spontaneously if they think it will help them or they feel pressure, or people are watching, right. Spontaneous giving and I know this because what I do spontaneous giving is often emotion-based. In my experience, the best way to get people in a room to give money in the moment is to stir up their emotions from time to time, I don't do this often, so I'm not asking for an opportunity. From time to time, somebody will ask me to speak at a fundraiser because they know I'm passionate about a certain cause, and they let me be the closer. I always say, "Let me be the closer. Let me make the ask," because you give me a microphone and something I'm passionate about, I can squeeze the dollars out of you, you know? And it's sincere because these are organizations I'm personally giving to.
So, it's not for me, it's for the cause. And what I've learned is this. It's like a good salesperson. The last thing the salesperson, especially retail sales wants, is for the person they're talking to, to walk out the door and say, "Let me think about it," because they know they're not gonna think about it. They're just gonna walk out the door. So, here's what I've learned, unfortunately, when I'm talking to a group of people and I don't know if they're generous or not, I gotta stir the emotion. Somebody's gotta cry. I mean, you gotta feel it. And once you feel it, you're gonna write checks and you're gonna prom, and that's not bad. And giving based on emotion and spontaneity, that's not a bad thing. I just want you to understand that has nothing to do with being generous. That is not what we're talking about. That's not generosity.
Myth number two is this. The generosity is regulated primarily by cash flow. This is a myth as well. You know, saying yes spontaneously, because somebody ask, again, that's not generosity. So, maybe you said, maybe, you've had a situation where somebody was asking you for money you need to give to something, and what you do immediately is you think about how much money is in your wallet. How much money is in your checking account, how much money you have access to immediately. And so, when you don't have access to it, you say, "You know, I'm really sorry, I can't help right now". You said this, I can't help right now, which meant your context forgiving was what you had right there in the moment or what you had in your checking, or you're weighing your checking account against bills coming in or other things going on, and you really couldn't help, right then. You wanted to help, but you mean your heart was right, but you just weren't in a position to give. What you had in the moment determine what you could give in the moment. But people who live generous, this is why this is so important, people who live generous, they avoid that predicament. They're ready. I'll talk about why in a minute.
Myth number three is this. The amount is what counts. This is totally false, okay? You can't understand dollars without a context. Somebody says, "I gave a thousand dollars," that might have been sacrificial giving. That might have been the equivalent of what they were gonna spend the next night on dinner with friends you just don't know. So, the amount doesn't determine generosity. And, of course, the challenge is anytime we add a zero to money we're giving, or somebody else adds zero, money is obviously is very emotional. So, adding those zeros, it feels emotional. But without context, we don't know what's a lot, and we don't know what's a little. We know what's a lot and a little to us, but we don't know what's a lot and a little to somebody else.
So, the amount is not what makes generosity generous. Boy, well, she gave such a generous contribution. Well, again, you don't know if it's generous or not. You don't know the context she gave out of. You only know the context that you give out of. So consequently, sometimes we think, "Oh, well, I don't need to give. I can't give much, so I shouldn't give at all". No, no, no, no, generosity is not about the amount. The amount is not what counts. In fact, interestingly enough, on this point, Jesus actually addressed this one directly. And this is a famous story you've probably heard before.
If you grew up in church, or even if you're not a church person, I bet you've heard this story. He is with his disciples. They're visiting the Temple. The Temple is up on what's called, we call it the Temple Mount. You have to go up these stairs, you get up there, and then on the Temple Mount is the actual Temple building. And depending on what, when you drop in historically, the Jewish people would have a treasury. We don't know if it was a canvased thing or like a barrel, probably wasn't a barrel, but there was the thing that you drop money into as you go in, go out. Sometimes, people say it was a Temple tax. Others say it was the tithe. It could be a combination. So, Jesus gets to the temple and He pulls this guys off to the side, and He says, "I just wanna watch for a moment".
So, they're watching people come in and out of the Temple. And the text says that "As Jesus looked up, He saw the rich," now how did He know they were rich? Well, the way they were dressed and who they were traveling with. "He saw the rich putting their gifts," or their money, "Into the Temple Treasury". And this was something you did publicly. "He also saw a poor widow". Again, He could tell by the way she was dressed. He could tell by the fact that she was alone, or maybe He even knew her story, we don't know. "He saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins".
These coins that we refer to them as the widow's mite. These coins are so small. If I held one up, you wouldn't even, you would barely even be able to see it. I mean, they're just little pieces, almost shards of copper. They were round like a coin, but they were so small. It was the smallest amount of money. And she drops in two of these very small copper coins. And then Jesus looks at His guys, you remember this part? He says, "Truly, I tell you," He said, "This poor widow has put in more than all the others," implication than all the others combined to which we say, and His disciples were thinking, "Okay, what kind of math is that"? And Jesus would've said, "That's Kingdom Math. That's Kingdom of God Math".
God is not impressed by amounts, God is moved by percentages. She, He went on to say, "All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth". In other words, they had a lot left over, they gave some percentage. "But she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on". So, she gave more than everybody else. She gave more than everybody else, perhaps, combined. She was the most, this is important, she was the most generous person at the Temple that day because the amount is not what counts. When it comes to generosity, it's not about the amount it's the percentage that counts. We'll come back to that, generosity.
Myth number four, this is the last one. This is kind of for fun. Rich people are generous. No, they're not. They're not. Let me tell you, let me explain this. Rich people are rich. Generous people are generous. And the two aren't necessarily the same. In fact, there's no necessary correlation. In fact, the truth is, and some of you can attest to this because of the way you grew up or maybe the circumstances you're facing now. Poor people and Jesus just illustrated this in this little snippet of narrative we looked at. Poor people are generally far more generous than wealthy people, and here's one of the reasons why. Because poor people, truly poor people, they are not trying to save their way out of their poverty. They're trying to survive. They aren't saving to get ahead because they know getting ahead financially, is virtually impossible. It's beyond their ability.
So consequently, they are very dialed in to people who are living on the edge because they themselves are living right on the edge of financial catastrophe. So, because there's proximity, because there's a overlap in terms of life experience, they are quick to come to somebody else's aid because they've been there, and they know that if I help them, then when my moment comes, my day comes, perhaps they will help me. So, oftentimes, the poorer a person is the more generous they actually are when it comes to generosity, the way that we're talking about and the way that your Heavenly Father measures generosity.
So, generous living, what does that look like? It's not the amount. It's not responding to an ask, it's something entirely different. And let me just put this in a little personal context, okay. I'm gonna push hard on this, and here's why. This is so important, especially if you're a Jesus follower, I'm telling you, this is so important. If you're not a Jesus follower, there's something to be learned and something to be gained, but if you're a Jesus follower, this is so important. And I wanna say up front, just full disclosure. This is easier for me than it is for many of you or maybe most of you because of how I was raised. My parents would give me my allowance in dimes, so I could easily pick out the 10% that would go to the church.
I remember the first time I gave $100. When I was in high school, I gave $100 to this thing we're doing at our church. And I just remember sitting in the pew wrestling, I would say kind of wrestling with God or wrestling with my conscience, $100. I was working minimum wage at Winn-Dixie Cleaning, the meat department. Another story for another day. But I was just raised that the first money, when you get money, the first thing you do is give it. So, it's been the habit of my life. I'm not asking you to do anything I happen to do in literally all my life. But I was raised that way. But for some of you, this will require an adjustment, but I'm telling you if you will do what I'm about to ask you to do, You will be glad you did. If nothing else, you will be less consumed and controlled by our culture of consumption, because this is the way forward.
So, real quick, I'm gonna give you a definition of generous living or how to live generously. It's very clunky. I made it up. You don't have to memorize it because I'm gonna walk you through it. So, here it is. Generous living, here's what we're gonna learn to do. The premeditated, calculated, designated emancipation of financial assets, hold your applause, that's right. The premeditated, we're gonna talk about that. Talk about that calculated, designated emancipation that is the liberation of our financial assets. So, the first word is premeditated. In order to live generously, in order to live generous, you have to have a plan. Look it up here. I don't care how much money you have, how much money, how little money you have.
If you don't have a plan, you will not, and you cannot be generous. If you don't have a plan, it is impossible for you to be a generous person. You will confuse random acts of generosity with generosity, but you're not necessarily a generous person because without a plan, you don't know. You have to have a plan. You'll be a consumer, and you'll be what I call a Triple S Giver because you're gonna give, we all give. The Triple S Giver, spontaneous. You know, we talked about that in the moment. Sporadic, just kind of here, there. When people ask me for it, in fact, you're gonna wait to be asked. And sparing, you will, listen, you will never give as much as you can actually give without a plan. You will feel the strain of what you give, but you will never maximize your potential to give without a plan. It is impossible. You've got to have a plan.
Now, some of you say, "Well, I'm not really a numbers person," doesn't matter. Some of you're like, "I'm too much of a numbers person, live meticulously by a budget," so what. If you don't have a giving plan, you are not going to live a generous life. Now, years and years ago, one of the things that helped me with this, I read a book by Ron Blue. Ronald Blue, he's written a bunch of books on financial and investing, and inheritance. I mean, all kind of great books he's written. An extraordinary gentleman, good friend of mine. But the first book I read by Ron Blue was actually his first book. And in the book, he made this point, he says, "There's basically only five things you can do with money".
Here's Ron's list. You can spend it, repay debt, pay your taxes, save it, and give it. And when I saw this list, and when I read this list, I remember thinking that's actually the order that we live in. And it's actually the order most people give in which amounts to this. Me first, creditor second, Government third, me fourth, others last. Now, this is actually me second because the things I borrowed money on are for me. So, it's me, me, Government, me, others last. Now, look carefully. This is important, look up here. If you're not a person of faith, okay, you should think about this. I mean, this is a little bit incriminating, especially if you think, "Oh, I'm a generous person".
Now, if giving is last, you're not a generous person. You've put yourself ahead of pretty much everybody else, okay. But, hey, if you're not a person of faith, that's up to you what you do with it. If you call yourself a Christian, if you're trying to be a Jesus follower, you can't live like this. You can't. If this is a reflection of your money, you are not following Jesus. You may pray, you may believe. You may be offended that I'd say that. How dare you say that to me? Just read the Gospels. If you think I'm being hard on you just read the Gospels, okay? You can't follow Jesus if other people are last in any capacity because the whole idea of following Jesus is following Jesus puts others first because He put you first.
This is why Jesus said so much about money because money is, oftentimes, the key, and food, but money is the key to our heart, right. And it's the thing that determines where our heart is. Where your treasure is, your heart is. Where your heart goes, your treasure goes. Jesus knew this, He didn't need anybody's money. He wasn't even around long enough to spend much money, right? He understood the power of money, and He understood that if His Father's Kingdom was gonna be first in our practical, everyday lives, His Father's Kingdom had to be first in our practical, everyday finances. We are called to be others first, people. And if others are last in the way we manage our money, we are not others first people. I don't care how you pray, and I don't care how you feel, it just, that's just the way it is. If you think I'm being hard on you just read what Jesus says about money.
And here's the other thing. You live this way long enough as a Christian, you will be a hypocrite. Let me predict your future for you, okay. And some of you've already been there. Here's what I mean by you'll be a hypocrite. Live this way, and eventually, when you hit a financial bump, you lose your job, or you go through a divorce, or there's some other financial thing, you take a hit. Do you know what Christians do when they have problems? They pray, that's what we do. In fact, you may not have prayed in a long time, and it's like, "Oh, God, help me". And when you have a financial bump or take a financial hit, and you pray, you're a hypocrite because here's what you're doing. You're saying, "God, I wanna invite You into my finances". God's like, "Well, this been a long time." he says, "Actually, the first, I mean, I'm, usually, it's like," "Oh no, no, no, no," you know, I'm saying now, "Oh, now you want me to get involved in your finances"?
I mean, how hypocritical is that? God's gonna be last others gonna be last financially. I have a need, oh. God. Please, God, I just wanna welcome You. I gotta sell this house. I need a job. I need, I need, I need, I need. You're gonna be a hypocrite. You don't wanna be a hypocrite. You don't even like hypocrites. None of us like hypocrites. So, you need to reverse that order now as a Jesus follower. And it's not that you shouldn't pray when you hit a financial bump, of course, you should pray. In fact, many people come to their senses financially when they hit a bump, and they finally reverse that order, and invite God into their finances, not in the moment of crisis, but habitually as a way of life. And that's what I'm inviting those of you who consider yourself Christians to do. To not do this. You are treating your Savior as a helper, not a King.
Come help me, but I'm not gonna follow You. Come help me out, but once You bail me out, I'm not gonna follow You. And Jesus didn't come to be your helper. He didn't come to be my helper. He's a King who came to reverse the order of things that makes marriage a submission competition that says, "I want you to look for ways to go to the back of the line for even the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many. And if you're gonna follow me, how dare you put giving at the end of the line"? I mean, what does that say about your appreciation, your confidence in God? So, that has to change right? Otherwise, you know what? We're consumers, but we're not followers. That brings us to calculated. Aren't you glad we're moving on? The premeditated calculated, okay. Calculated, here's the thing.
Here's how generous people think. Generous people pre-decide. That's what calculated means. Generous people pre-decide. They don't wait to be asked. They don't wait to be asked to see what's in their purse or in their wallet and their checking account, or I gotta think about it. Let me kind of get home again. No, no, they have pre-decided. They've pre-decided an amount or a percentage, and percentage is better because percentage rises and falls with income. They pick a percentage, and they set it aside, and that money is as good as given. It's just, this is so fun, it's just waiting for an opportunity. The way I was raised and the way I live my life, and you can do this any way you want to. There's no rules. I just figure when money comes to me, I need to immediately put a percentage away to; I immediately give a percentage to the things that I feel called to give to.
We'll talk about how you figure that out in just a minute. It just goes, I want it to be first. I want you to know, God, this has come in, but you know what, I'm going give first because Jesus said in the context of money, we love the verse, but we forget the context. Seek he first, the Kingdom of God. Then there was when something comes your way, you put God's Kingdom first, and money is the most practical way to do that. So, people with a plan, people who are generous, they have a plan, and they have pre-decided. They've pre-decided what percentage of what amount of money to go. That's it's just done. It's just waiting. It's just waiting to be allocated because in my mind, in your mind, that money is gone either immediately or if you have some big financial opportunity or some big financial event, you got money coming your way, you just take it, and you set it aside, and you say, "You know what? That money is as good as given. I can't wait to find out where it goes".
And let me tell you this. No matter how much money you make, okay, now, if you're in right now, you're looking for a job, and things are upside down, take this in context. For most of us, no matter how much money you make, to have a plan and to have picked a percentage, and to choose where that percentage goes, I'm telling you, it puts the fun in funding. It brings the joy to giving. It brings the joy to life. And it is a keystone habit. Giving versus a keystone habit. It will impact everything else you do financially. Because when you flip that script, when you flip that list, I'm telling you, it impacts everything. Besides that, we never miss money that we give away.
So, back to our definition. Premeditated, calculated, next up, designated. That means, this is so fun. Generous people have already decided ahead of time where they're going to give or allocate their giving money. Generous people don't have to be asked. Generous people don't wait to be asked. Generous people are proactive. They've discovered, here are the things that are important to me. Here are the things that are making a difference in the world, I'm gonna let them know I'm gonna be proactive in my giving. I'm gonna go ahead and designate this. This doesn't mean you don't give sporadically. This doesn't mean you don't give spontaneously. But that's the add-on giving. Generous people have already decided.
And here's, I'm wanna give you a tip in terms of how to decide. Give, always give from a grateful heart and a broken heart. A grateful heart and a broken heart. You need to ask personally, or maybe as a couple if you're married or as a family. In fact, if you've got kids who are old enough to participate in this conversation, it's so much fun. We did this with our kids. My parents did this with me. I can still remember sitting in the den around this little pecan coffee table, talking about where we were gonna give money. But you decide. You ask these questions. What are we grateful for, and what breaks our heart? So, let's talk about this one first.
What am I grateful for? And the way that this question has to do with the things that benefit you. What are the things that are coming your way, and you're so grateful for that, that you wanna donate to whatever organization is that has benefited you or your kids or your family. And this is why, if you are grateful for your local church, you should have a plan for giving to your local church. This is crazy, when I meet Christians like, "Well, you know, the Church got all the money," and whoa, whoa, it doesn't matter how much money they have or whether they need or not. This isn't about need. This is about gratitude.
Are you grateful for your local church? Yeah, my kids and my wife, and we get on well. Well, and you don't support your local church financially? That's just crazy. If you're grateful. If you're not grateful for your local church, find a local church you're grateful for, and you should give there because you're grateful. Everybody, and I'm not shy about this, everybody should have a plan for how they plan to support their local church financially. Everybody should have a plan. In fact, I say this all the time, I don't think anyone's ever taken me up on it, but if you're not a Christian or a believer, you should have a plan for how you support the local church financially. Because I'm telling you as much bad press as the big public churches and all the stuff gets in the news, you do not want the local church to go away from our community and our society. You do not want that. You should find a way to support a local church even if you don't attend church.
The church and our communities are that important. But if you attend and participate in the local church, and you don't have a plan for how you support your local church financially, you are ungrateful. You're like, "Oh, no, no, no, I have gratitude in my heart". Nobody cares about gratitude in your heart. Your kids don't, your wife doesn't, your husband doesn't. Unexpressed, listen, I've said that. I've told you this before. Unexpressed gratitude is in gratitude. It's the same thing. If you're grateful for your church, you should have planned out. Let me tell you this to another level. If your children or your grandchildren left home and went to college somewhere, and they found a church in their College town, and they're attending that church, you should send that church some money because aren't you grateful?
Number one, your kids are in church. Aren't you grateful there is a church in their College town they want to attend. You need to write a check with a letter that says, "I'm gonna send you X number of dollars every single month. I love what you're doing. Thank you for ministering to my son or my daughter or my grandchild". Because you're grateful. So, show your gratitude with your money. And if you have a plan, and if you've already designated it, it's painless because you've pre-decided, and now you're proactive, and you don't have to wait to be asked, right? Everybody should have a plan for how they support local church financially. And then, beyond that, you wanna ask the question, "Okay, what breaks my heart? What stirs or what breaks my heart"?
Now, this is that thing that there's something that when you hear about those kids or you hear about people being trained to be able to do jobs or people who are homeless or at foster care, whatever it might be, every once in a while, there's just something that kind of stirs your heart or breaks your heart. You need to find an organization that's operating in that space, and you need to designate some of your giving money and you need to write 'em a letter, say, "I'm gonna send you this every month. Don't ask me don't, you don't have to do it. Gala, you don't have to invite me to a fundraiser. No, I see," I'm not one of those people. I'm a generous person. I don't have to be asked. I believe in what you're doing because what you are doing impacts me, because the cause that you're addressing stirs my heart.
This is one of the things that I love about Be Rich. And if you're new to our church, you don't know what Be Rich is, you'll find out in a few weeks. We're getting close to Be Rich Season. But see, dear, Be Rich. We partner with all these fabulous non-profit organizations, and many of you go and volunteer at those fabulous non-profit organizations. And some of you, your heart gets captured by what they're doing, the next thing you know, you're giving them money. I think that is a win, win, win. Anytime you can marry your giving, your passion and your time together, that is a win for you. So, what breaks your heart? What stirs your heart? What problem in society, or maybe in the world, would you love to see solved? Find somebody in that space, who's doing a great job, and then just decide every month, or every time I get paid, or every year we're, boom. Send them a cheque.
Don't have to ask because I'm generous. I'm not the average American giver. I gotta plan. I've picked a percentage, and I'm designating it based on what I'm grateful for and what stirs or breaks my heart. This is what connects your heart. This is what connects your heart to your giving. Now, another way of saying all this is this. Saving prepares you to say yes to you, and you should save money. Living generous, this is what's so powerful. Living generous prepares you to say yes to what's important to you. And look up here, if you don't have a plan, you won't be ready. If you don't have a plan, you'll be inconsistent. If you don't have a plan, you'll be thinking how much is in my checking account. That's how everybody else does it. Don't be like everybody else because if you do, you put others last, you put the Kingdom of God last. You put the church last, and you just can't consider yourself a Jesus follower, if that's the case.
If you do this, I'm telling you'll make more thoughtful, intentional, passion-filled, less emotional giving decisions. And you'll feel better about, this is kind of a bonus, you'll feel better about saying no to every ask that comes along. Here's why, Because generous people, generous people don't feel guilty saying no because they've already said yes. Generous people don't feel, thank you for asking, but no. I don't feel guilty, no, no, no, I don't feel guilty, because you see, I'm not an emotional giver. I don't give based on the plea and the pictures. I mean, if you got, you give money to anything you want to, I'm not telling you to say no. I'm just telling you when you say no, it's because you've already said yes. You've already answered the question. We have chosen a percentage. We got a plan, we're proactive. We are in. We are living generous.
So, you know what, that's not something we wanna get involved in right now, but I don't feel guilty because I've already said yes. This is why, if you've been part of our church for any length of time, this may be new to you what I'm about to say, but I say this every opportunity I get. This is how I live. Again, I would not ask you to do something that I'm not doing, especially as it relates to money. This is why I say the simplest way to organize your financial life is this. You give first, save second, live on the rest. You give first, you save second, you live on the rest. If you give first, you will probably save more, and you will live more responsibly. I guarantee it. This is a keystone financial habit that impacts everything else. And the result is more joy, more peace because you're preparing for your own future, and more freedom to live responsibly in this world that we live in that just constantly reminds us of what we don't have. What we think we need, or how to upgrade something that we already have.
Now, wrap it up. Imagine, and I don't have to imagine, okay. I'm not bragging, I'm just telling, I'm just wanna press in. Imagine, imagine if you've been doing this all along. Imagine if this had been your lifestyle since you got your first job. Imagine if your whole life, you just picked a percentage, boom, you know, it's $10 a week or $100 a week, or I'd say. Imagine how much money you would've given away responsibly to things you believed in and were passionate about. And do you know where all that money here's? You know where all the money went that you didn't give away? You don't know. You have nothing to show for it. I mean, you know, you'd be got some other stuff, and you upgraded your vacation, but for the most part, where did it go?
I don't know, I don't have anything to point to. I don't have anything to show for it. I don't want you to live another season of your life that way. And it's not because I want your money or the church needs your money. Look, if you don't trust me, and again, I'm up here talking about, I'm the pastor of a local church, I get that. But you know what, I'm responsible for your follow-ship and I'm responsible for your discipleship, and how we manage our money is a key ingredient to how well we're following Jesus. But if you don't trust me, then pick a percentage and give it somewhere else consistently. But for all, but you know, please learn and begin to live generous. It's better for you. It's better for your children. It's better for our culture. It's better for the world, and it's what it means to, in some respect, to be a follower of Jesus.
Come on, come on. For God so loved the world that He gave. That's what people who love do. That's what grateful people do. That's what passionate people do. That's what organized people do. So, I'm challenging you to begin living generous. Again, back to where we started. Imagine if you had that checking account, all the good you would do and all the good you could do. And you know what? You're generous in your heart. I bet most every one of you are. I wish I could do more. Hey, do you really wish you could do more? Well, I did before you preach the sermon, and now I'm kind of afraid to answer that question. Because if you would, come on, if you wish you could do more, you could do more.
I'm telling you, you have no idea what your giving capacity is until you have a plan. And if this scares you, it shouldn't. What should scare you is living another season of your life without doing this. That's what should scare you. Because generous people are the happiest people. Jesus said it this way. Here's what he said. "It is more blessed to give than to receive". He was not kidding. Blessed means happy. Jesus says, "You wanna be happy"? I wanna be happy, well, then you can. Listen, you can't consume your way to happiness. You've already tried. It's impossible because of, you are made in the image of Creator God. And He says, "You wanna be happy? Then you flip the script on how you manage your money and you'll save more, you'll consume less. You'll give more, and you will be happier".
You won't be blessed, I wanna be clear. You won't be blessed in the sense of you gave God a dollar, He gave you 10, I don't believe that. You live in the United States of America. Good grief, we've already won the lottery for most of us, when you think about what's going on in the world. So, this isn't about give to get. This is about give because you've been given to. And that's the power of a plan, and that's the power of percentage. And this is what it means to follow Jesus with our finances.
I don't want you to live another 10 years or get another 10 years down the road and have missed out on the joy that could be yours by doing this, so decide. I just want you to decide. I want you to plan to live generous which means you make a plan. You pick a percentage, and then you go for it. You designate it. You get busy, you share it with your family. You make this a way of life and you watch and see what happens. You watch and see what happens to you on the inside and in your heart, and watch and see what happens in your finances. It is a keystone habit. It has the potential to change everything. So, give generously. More important, live generous. You will be glad that you did. And we will pick it up right there next time. As we conclude our exciting series, You'll Be Glad You Did: Timeless Advice for Trouble Times. Love to pray for us before we go.
Heavenly Father, how could we not give? How could we not be generous people? Look what You've done for us. So, give us eyes to see and courage to act. Father, I pray for the men because it's usually us. We're so security-minded and future-minded and all that's good, but, gosh, it's easy for us to just get a grip and just freeze up, and panic, but at the same time, when things go south, we're quick to pray. So, just give us wisdom to know what to do with what we just heard and the courage, Father, to do it. And I pray this in the Matchless Name of Jesus who came as the Sacrificial Lamb, the Gift to pay for our sins, who created the context for everything we just talked about. It's in His Matchless Name, our King's Name, we pray. Amen.