Planning. Not a very exciting activity for many of us. We may think of it as boring and dry. Although planning requires our left brain (the logical side of our thinking) it also employs the other part of the brain, the part where we create and imagine. With our planning we not only join God in what He is doing in the world, we get to dream and create with Him. Can anything be more fun than that?
Some of us may be more inclined to plan and “work the plan.” Yet we are all planners more than we realize. Imagine you and your family or friends decide to travel by car to a vacation destination none of you have experienced. So, how comfortable would you be merely jumping in the car and heading in the general direction of the destination? No packing. No car check-up. No map. No GPS on your smart phone. You’d probably want to plan head of time.
We also make plans for the money God has entrusted to us. We decide on what to spend and what to save. It is likely that we each default either to spending or saving. We often act on autopilot or with little thought. Giving, however, requires that we be intentional. And to grow in our generosity, we have to be intentional. This is why creating and using a Giving Plan is so important.
A Giving Plan is an important tool to intentionally live the generous life we are all called to live. Like a to-do list, if we put it in writing and refer to it frequently, we are more likely to do it.
A Giving Plan includes your giving goals for a certain time of year. A good plan, however, requires more than goals. For a plan to be helpful we should consider how we are going to accomplish those goals.
We can think of this like choosing a route to a destination. For instance, if you want to give away half of your income this year, what are the steps to doing so as a faithful steward of what God has entrusted to you? There are other questions to consider: How do we give? How much? To whom? When? Are there other considerations? Setting aside time to create a plan for giving for the year provides a time of prayer and reflection to consider these issues. Without a plan we are likely to give impulsively or not at all.
Once we complete our Giving Plan we refer to it during the year, using it as a tool to keep us on track and accountable. And as we do so, we hold that plan with an open hand before God. He may change it during the year. He may present new opportunities that are within His plan both for us and for others.
“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord….” (Jer. 29:11, NIV)
“You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail. (Prov. 19:21, MSG)