Who doesn’t love getting a tax return? Kids may think that their Santa wears a red coat, but we know that Santa wears a green one for the adults. It’s always fun and exciting to know that you are getting a little cash thrown back your way. Maybe it’s the one time of year where you splurge on yourself or do something spontaneous with your family.
What’s the best way to generous with your tax return?
This is an ancient prayer worth considering when your tax return hits your bank and or anytime you decide what to do with your money:
“Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.”
_ Proverbs 30:7-9
I love the brutal honesty of this ancient prayer. “God, Don’t give me to little. If you do, I’m going to have to rob a grocery store to feed my family. God, Don’t give me to much because then I’m going to forget about you and trust what I can see or what is in my bank account. God, please just give me my daily bread. Let me be generous with what I have.”
When our financial behaviors are healthy and disciplined it won’t matter how much or little wealth flows through our hands. We will be generous with our finances.
- Generosity allows for a wider margin to fulfill more of the mission.
Your tax return is a great way to give you or your family the margin to do things that might fill them up. Yes, It’s ok to allow yourself margin to do things that fill you up or provide your family with a unique experience. We all have preferred futures in our marriages, parenting, careers, etc. Give yourself permission to do things that fill you up and fulfill the purpose of your life or whatever the end game is for you, you family, etc.
If you attend a church, I would encourage you to think about giving a portion of your tax return as a financial gift. Again, If you love your church and believe in what they are up too, generosity allows them to fulfill more their mission and purpose. This is something that my wife and I have never really discussed until this year. We are grateful that we did. We would typically use it for Fun, Savings, and debt. That’s ok, but I think there is more going on then what is in my families immediate reality.
2. The behavior of generosity is more important than the amount of generosity.
As previously stated, if we do not have the behavior of healthy finances a tax return can be overwhelming. We may not know what do with it. As I read the Gospels (The stories about Jesus), It seems like Jesus is less concerned with the amount of the gift and more important with behavior of the gift. He loved when people were willing to give generously. I think maybe because hidden things were becoming seen things when they have – love, trust, and faithfulness.
It can seem overwhelming to think about giving to your church, paying down debt, putting money in savings. The amount with which you do it is not as important than the fact that you actually do it. As the behavior matures, grows, and strengthens, the amounts in all of those areas will increase. I’ve seen it so many times.
3. An amount of money does not always equal generosity.
There are countless Jesus stories when people would give less than others (like the rich religious elite) and Jesus would say things like, “The one who gave least is the most generous.” That doesn’t financially add up in our world.
I think Jesus was saying that if our heart is in the right place any amount can be considered generous. The little amount that was giving was from a larger percentage of that person’s income. The religious rich elite were giving much more but also at a much small percentage of their income. From the percentage they were given, Jesus deemed them not to be generous because their “Generosity” wasn’t from the heart and it really didn’t cost them.
Big or small find a way to bless someone with your tax return this year. Everyone knows someone in need. Make it a party or do it anonymously. I would encourage you to find a way to bless someone this year. Followers of Jesus were known as blessing machines.
We work to hard to not save, pay down debt, invest, and be generous. I want to encourage you to find ways to be a blessing with you tax return this year. Who knows what might happen.