Late last year when I wrote about unexpected financial blessings I mentioned that one of the reasons why we wanted to pay off debt and save money is to be able to help others.
This has been something that my wife and I talked about many times, even before we got married. We both separately had a goal of being in a position to freely help people whenever there was a need, without being restricted by our own needs.
It would be great if someone could come to us needing a few hundred or even thousand dollars, and us being able to help them out. Right now, we’d have to sell things at a loss, make withdrawals from our retirement account (facing stiff penalties), or simply not pay rent or other bills for a period of time, in order to help them out.
Blessed By Someone With A Giving Account
When I wrote the post about financial blessings, I told about a time where I had to depend on the kindness and preparation of someone who I barely knew…
A long time ago I had a little bit of trouble with my driver’s license. Because of this, I needed to pay off my financed car immediately. The only thing is that I was broke and I still owed $2,000 on the car! If I couldn’t come up with the money in a short period of time (like a week or 2), they would repossess the car.
My wife (who was just my girlfriend at the time) told her best friend about my problem. He then offered to give me a loan for the full amount and allow me to pay it back over 8 months without interest! My car payments were about $241/month, and I was able to pay him back at $250/month.
I had met him a few times and we were cool, but I wouldn’t consider us friends at that point. However, he still felt moved to help me with such a large gift. At that time I was working full time and I went back to school – I couldn’t afford to have my car repossessed.
His generosity really helped me get through a very tough time, and he was able to part with this money because he had it set aside in a giving account.
So there is one time where I have been the recipient of an unexpected financial blessing from someone I barely knew. Over the years I have had family members and friends step in to help my out financial at various times. I definitely know what it feels like to not be able to get out of a situation on my own, and having to depend on the kindness of others.
As I began to grow in Christ, I have come to realize that it was really God working through these people over the years (which is why the always come along at the “right” time). This has really helped to fuel my passion for wanting to help others.
Since my wife and I have the same desire, this will be an imperative in our marriage going forward!
Setting Up A Giving Account
To us, the biggest part of being able to help people in need when they need it, is for us to make those sacrifices a normal part of our lives. What I mean by that is that we plan to set up a savings account which will only be used when someone comes to us (or to our church).
Our goal is to put money aside with each paycheck in order to build up this “giving account”. This way, it will be much easier to give to someone without there being a major disruption to our finances. It will be much easier to give someone $1,000 if we actually have $5,000 put aside for that purpose, rather than pulling it out of our emergency fund or, worse yet, our operating budget!
So just like I believe that our savings can be set aside for various spending purposes (housing, college, emergencies, retirement, etc.), I also believe that if giving is extremely important to you, this type of savings account can be very beneficial.
We would hate to be in a situation where someone desperately needs help, we feel that God is leading us to help, but we don’t have the resources at the moment. That’s why we want to be as prepared as possible. So essentially, we would be setting up another emergency fund, but it would just be for the emergency of another person/family.
For those who are concerned that this would take the sacrificial nature out of giving, consider this: The amount that goes into the account from each paycheck will be a sacrifice for us; we are simply making the sacrifice every 2 weeks rather than making it at one time.
This way, we can take advantage of the times where we haven’t come across someone in need, so that our giving can be larger in amount, reach, and impact. So instead of finding a way to come up with a significant amount of money at once, the sum of our smaller, but regular sacrifices may provide enough for us to meet the need more fully.
Unfortunately, because we still paying off debt and find ourselves deep in debt bondage, we are not able to start building this type of account. But the fact that this is so important to us provides us with a significant motivation to pay off our debt as quickly as possible.
What About You?
- How do you manage the money that you give above your “normal” giving to your local church? Do you save money for that purpose and then give when something comes up, or do you simply pull the money from your checking account when the need arises?
- If you are married, has there ever been a time where you and your spouse have disagreed on trying to help someone? If so, how did you resolve the situation?