After graduating high school, one topic has continually been on my mind and my heart: giving. What does it mean to really give? I can find plenty of examples in the Bible about verses that say we should give. It’s not a matter of what it means to give, but rather, what it looks like to give.
In this season of life, as a full-time college student with bills to pay on top of a packed schedule, what does it look like for me to give? I have heard many different answers from many different people. “Give what you can,” “give exactly a tenth,” “you don’t have to give until you have a good job.” Each individual was giving advice out of good intentions, but not a single answer satisfied this question inside of my heart.
After contemplating this question with others and mentally processing it all, I decided to finally go to God. I discovered a few things that actually led me to another question, one that is the question we must ask first: do I trust God?
The root of the question, “how much do I give?” is actually a question of trust. A question I admit that I have struggled with because if I truly trust in God, then the question is asked in an entirely different tone. With partial trust in God, I ask the question in fear with thoughts like, “can I afford to give that much?” or “how will it work out?” However, when we trust God fully, if we trust that God is who He says He is, then my question is asked in joy! The tone is shifted drastically because my heart is trusting in the fullness of God.
If I believe that God is who He says He is, then what worry do I have? He owns everything in this earth, so He is more than able to provide what I need financially (Psalm 24:1; 89:11). He is sovereign over everything that happens, so what need is there to worry (Job 42:2; Ephesians 3:20; Ecclesiastes 7:13)? He cares for us more than we will ever be able to fathom (Matthew 7:11; James 1:17; John 3:16).
Once established in the truth that God is more than worthy of our trust with everything we are given (because none of it is anything we truly own), we can look at giving through a new set of lenses. It moves from something we “ought” to do, to something we love to do.
So what does it look like to give as a college student?
It looks like giving all that you are to what God’s Spirit is calling you towards. From giving a tenth of your weekly income to your local church, to volunteering at the nearest soup kitchen, to having coffee with a friend who needs someone to talk to, or even sponsoring a child. The answer to the questions, “how should I give?” and “how much?” is all dependent upon God’s calling.
But I want to encourage you (and myself) to do one thing: do not hold back from what God is calling you to do. Let God be God, and let His Spirit flow freely through every part of you, from finances, to your mind, to your energy. Becoming a cheerful giver is grounded in the knowledge of who God is. Take that step in trusting fully in who God says He is.