What are you afraid of?
If you’re like me, that’s probably a pretty easy list to make. Whether it’s the stock market roller coaster ride, worries about health, the well-being of my children, or simply the possibility of failing at my next assignment, fear often lurks just one thought away.
Have you even been afraid of giving? Has there ever been a time you’ve sensed God asking you to give of your time or your money but you held back because you were afraid? You’re not alone. GenerousChurch recently conducted a survey of over 15,000 Christian givers and asked the question: “What are your greatest barriers to generosity?” Over 1/3 of the participants responded that fear for their “family well-being and security” was the top barrier to their giving.
So what can help us break through our fear? How can we cultivate the kind of faith that allows us to enthusiastically respond “yes” when God asks us to be generous in a way that feels crazy?
Living by faith
Dr. Bill and Vonette Bright are well known as the founders of Campus Crusade for Christ. What is not as well known, however, is the extravagantly generous life that flowed from their intentional decision to live modestly. When Todd Harper, the President of Generous Giving, asked the Brights what gave them the courage to give up the money they were rightly entitled to from royalties, honorariums, etc., Dr. Bright quickly responded,
“It is because of our view of God. Your view of God determines everything: your lifestyle, your friends, your literature, the music you enjoy.”
In the same interview, Vonette’s honesty shines through when she recalls her response to Bill’s decision to live by faith: “I don’t want to live by faith!”
What to do when fear feels stronger than faith
Although we’re not all called to make the same decisions the Brights did, I sense we all have times when God asks us to stretch in our giving and, like Vonette, we say, “I don’t want to live by faith!”
There are three things I’ve learned to do when my fear feels stronger than my faith:
- I remind myself that God is the first and most generous giver.
- I remember that as His image bearer, I’m created to be a generous giver too.
- I reflect on His faithfulness in the past to give me courage to trust His faithfulness for today and tomorrow.
God helps me choose faith over fear so I can be generous and experience His joy.