In a sermon I recently listened to on YouTube by Francis Chan, he said something interesting. He said that when you try to give unselfishly or do something good and perhaps even radical, people will try to discourage you, even people in your own church. "Shouldn't you be saving more for yourself?" they'll say, or maybe, "You really don't have to do so much."
Today, my LDS grandmother, who prides herself in that she gives a little more than the required 10% (in offerings, though, not in tithes), tried to caution me about my finances after I told her we'd joined an inexpensive gym and that I'd started sponsoring Riziki in addition to already giving a bit at our church.
What am I supposed to do? Give up sponsoring that little girl? Give up the other positive things in our life that do not generally involve excesses or high prices? Its amazing that the very day after I start giving, someone tries to warn me about my finances.
I fully believe in good stewardship--I try to live comfortably within our means, and do pretty well keeping some extra in our checking and saving accounts except in the very tightest of times. I'm not in any notable debt. My family know that, and is proud of me for doing so well on a relatively small income while putting my husband through college. Yet the moment I start giving to a child I've never met, the worry for my finances starts.
One thing I can say that my grandma can't: I know exactly where all my giving is going. I know that every cent I give to that girl is going straight to her health, schooling, and other general care. I can look at my church's budget and know about how much of my offerings are going where. And I can feel good about every single penny of it all. I strongly believe the Lord will protect my finances in other areas so that I can continue to give to my church and especially to that little girl. The raise I received just the other day was over the minimum yearly raise, and I strongly believe that was God's blessing on Steven and I for beginning to start trying to give regularly.
Lord, protect our finances as we try to give. You blessed us greatly with my yearly raise, and I know you're able to do so much more for us. Please help us be able to continue to give within our means while still putting Steven through school with minimum debt and greatest outcome. Please help us learn to feel great empathy for those in need as we have the benefit of steady paychecks every week. And most of all, please fortify us against those that would nay-say us in giving to those people in need, including ourselves in the rough spots. I trust in you, Lord, to keep your hand on us as we do the things that we know you love seeing your followers do.