Ben Sinclair

February 22, 2023

Generous giving

I'll be upfront and say that I have a very biased view toward giving and generosity for two reasons. One is because I am a Christian, and I am taught to give generously of my time, talent, and treasure (money). The second is because I have followed that teaching and have seen how giving has come back to benefit me in multiple ways.

I don't believe you need to be a spiritual or religious person to be generous and to see fruit from that generosity in your life either. 

As with anything I write about, I need to have done it or am doing it to share my thoughts or opinions. I have been giving since I was very young. To me, being a generous person is a must to be successful in this world and my hope is this gives some insight into the joys of giving generously.

Generosity is a mindset

Remember the Christmas story about Ebenezer Scrooge? Although a story, it is a true depiction of how greed and not caring for others make one look further inward.

When a person decides to be a generous person, their outlook changes to be more outward-focused.

We need to decide to be generous before we will be generous. To some, this comes easier than to others.

Giving should be a cheerful action

When someone gives, it should be out of a cheerful spirit.

Giving should be a win-win for both the giver and the recipient. If anyone is giving with a bad attitude, they are robbing themself of the gift that giving does inside of them. They will receive no benefit from the gift, only the recipient will.
Giving and generosity reduce greed and selfishness

As human beings, no matter how much we give or how generous we think we are, we are all looking out for number one - ourselves. We all have greed within us and we all are selfish to a degree. This certainly helps with self-preservation in dangerous situations, but it overflows into areas in which we need to be less inward-focused.

Generous giving does something to combat these natural tendencies we have inside of us. It's a great feeling to become more selfless as it unlocks something inside of our spirit. Our focus shifts from being very inward-focused to being more outward-focused.

Giving isn't just about money

Giving is far more than just money as it encompasses your time, your talent, and your treasure (money).

It can be tempting to just give in an area or two that suits you, but I don't think that's how it should work. I don't think anyone should just give money but never give of their time. No one should only give of their talent but not of their money.

It's fair to say that some people have more time to give than money, and that's ok. But those people shouldn't just limit themselves to only giving of their time and should give of their money where they can.

You have an opportunity to make a difference today

Someone once said to me that it's better to build your nest egg and then one day you can give. Intellectually that makes sense - save up your money and then give out of the abundance later.

To follow the above advice, however, I need to have a mindset focused more inward (be greedy and selfish) until I hit a dollar figure. To me, that's not the type of person I want to be. There would be many years of robbed generosity that I could benefit from.

There are so many needs in the world today and out of all those needs, there are those that I care about most. Being able to give now and see people's and communities' lives impacted now by my giving is so rewarding.

It doesn't mean I need to give it all away now and there is certainly space to save and invest to build my wealth. However, having space in my budget and schedule to be generous brings joy to my life today as I make a small difference in this world.

You get back what you give

Placing money aside for a moment, let's think about the idea of getting back what you give. If you smile at someone, they'll likely smile back. If you are kind to someone, they'll likely be kind back. If you start road-raging at someone, they'll likely start road-raging back at you.

There have been books written about this topic such as The Secret and Think And Grow Rich where they speak of what you think will attract those things into your life. Being a generous person in your thoughts and your actions I believe, and in my experience, follows this same principle.

Now although a similar response back is often the result of our giving, we shouldn't give with the expectation to get something back. Sometimes things come back to us in ways we don't expect or even know.

Being a generous giver makes you wealthy

Being wealthy is a spiritual thing as well as a financial thing.

When I gave away something simple to a retired gentleman, it made me feel incredible and added to my internal wealth bucket.

I have also found as I have given money away, more money seems to flow back toward me from various sources.

My experience has been a "you reap what you sow" situation. As someone who has been taught to be a giver since I was young, I can see in all areas of my life, finances being one of them, my family and I have flourished because of a generous mindset.

It's harder to give when you have more

It's been my experience that giving has become more challenging the more I have. It's funny because many people would think it would be the opposite. When zeros start getting added to your giving, although you have more money, there is a mental battle inside that one has to deal with giving so much away. Greed and fear often creep in.

My solution to this has been not pondering on it and just giving anyway. The action of giving helps break down the greed and selfishness that arise from time to time.

Having a plan upfront, like budgeting you giving into your life when you had less gives you a framework to worth off of as you grow in wealth.

How much should you give?

Before worrying about how much to give, I think focusing on being a generous person is a better place to start. As you become more generous as an individual, you are better equipped to make decisions around giving.

There is no right or wrong in how much someone should give. In some seasons I've given more of a percentage of my income and in other seasons I've given less.

Giving should be a line item in your budget.

Today my wife and I personally give away about 30% of our regular income. We tithe 10% to our church and the other 20% goes to support various charities, family members, and programs we believe in. This is a big sacrifice to us as we could use that giving to buy other things we want or simply save and invest that money and grow our wealth. But we have committed to being generous people and feel this percentage is right for us in this period of our life.

I am in no way suggesting you should start by giving away 30% of your income. That's a big ask even for a naturally generous person. This is something we have built up over years of having a generous attitude. And many, many people give way more than we do.

My encouragement to a new giver is to start small. Decide on a percentage or amount you'd like to start with.

If you're an established giver, review the percentage or amount you give. Perhaps set a challenge to increase it a little in your next budget?

Only give what you have

When it comes to giving your money, one thing I'd encourage you is to only give what you have in cash.

Never give using credit if you don't have the cash in the bank to pay back that credit right away.

Over to you

Giving and being generous are attitudes we have decided to nurture in our family. We budget in our giving first, we pay ourselves second and the remainder goes to bills and expenses. 

I encourage you to bring this attitude into your family.

If you've never tried giving before, I encourage you to try it and see how it feels. Start small. Let that generous spirit grow.


About Ben Sinclair

Hey! I'm Ben. I’m a Christian (a child of God), husband, father, son, friend and I work at I'm passionate about Jesus, finance and technology. These writings are for me, however, maybe they’ll be interesting to others. Thanks for stopping by!