You Don’t Have to Be Rich to Start Living Generously

I can hear the dulcet tones of Snow White’s voice now as she twirls with the birds and assorted forest creatures. “Someday my prince will come, someday my – .”  You get the idea.

Snow White lived each day hoping that someday, somehow, her dream would come true. Her prince would magically appear. Only then could she fulfill her destiny.

That worked in the fairy tale. Sort of. Except for the whole poison apple, sleep-of-death stuff.

But we can do the same thing when it comes to living generously if we’re not careful.

What Are You Waiting For?

Tell me I’m not the only one who has thought like this: “Someday, I’ll start being generous to others. Not now because I’ve got bills to pay. But someday, when I’m rich, — oh, I’ll be a generous soul then. Just you wait and see!”

Maybe you’ve thought the same thing? Someday, when your ship comes in, you’ll start living generously. Someday, when you’ve filled up your storehouses and bank accounts, you’ll begin doling it out to those in need.


Right now, you’ve got to be — how do we put it? — responsible. All too often, responsible is just acceptable code for selfish.

But God’s universe doesn’t work that way.

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.” (Luke 16:10, NIV)

In God’s world, little stuff matters. We show ourselves to be generous with little; He trust us with much. First things first. And if we’re greedy with a little, we’re likely never going to see much. God knows we’ll be just as greedy if our prince finally does come.


How to Train Yourself to Be Generous

The Biblical truth is that the time to train yourself to start living generously is now, no matter how much or how little you may have.  So stop whining about “someday” and try these four practical tips to start cultivating the habit of generosity today:

  1. Inventory your extras. We all have something we’re not fully utilizing just to survive. For some it’s loose change, either coins or paper. For others, it’s a car not often used. For others, it’s time and energy. Still others might have a closet that’s overflowing. Take a few minutes to inventory your extra assets.
  2. Create a plan to give your extra away. Be intentional about getting rid of your extra – whatever. Pray and think about who might be able to put your extra to work. Your spare stuff might be just what someone is longing and praying for today.  Choose to use your extra.
  3. Now go. Give it away. Then do it again. And again. Even if it’s something small. Especially if it’s something you think is small. Remember, that’s how God prepares you to handle something big.
  4. Give more than you think you can afford. Always. We tend to underestimate what we can afford to give and overestimate what we can afford to spend. Consequently, that 72-inch plasma TV looks like a good deal on sale for $500 off, but an extra 10 dollars a month for orphans seems like a bridge too far. Give until it hurts. Then give a little more. That’s how you grow your generosity muscles.

The fact is you don’t have to be rich to start living generously. Give from where you are. Start with your extra. Let God lead you from there.

Do you find yourself waiting until “someday” to be generous? What ways have you found to develop a generous heart? Share your story with a comment below.

About Bill Blankschaen

Bill Blankschaen is a writer, author, and communicator who empowers people to live a story worth telling. As the founder of FaithWalkers, he equips Christians to think, live, and lead with abundant faith.

His next book entitled Live a Story Worth Telling: A FaithWalker's Guide is scheduled for release in May 2015 from Abingdon Press. His writing has been featured with Michael Hyatt, Ron Edmondson, Skip Prichard, Jeff Goins, Blueprint for Life, Catalyst Leaders, Faith Village, and many others who shall remain nameless.

Bill is a blessed husband and the father of six children with an extensive background in education and organizational leadership. He serves as VP of Content & Operations for Polymath Innovations in partnership with Patheos Labs. He is the Junior Scholar of Cultural Theology and Director of Development for the Center for Cultural Leadership. He works with a variety of ministries including Equip Leadership (founded by John C. Maxwell) when he's not visiting his second home -- Walt Disney World.