Recently I decided to take a summer course on the intersection of finance and stewardship. I did all the readings and decided to share some of the stuff I learned there.
The first book assigned was Jeff Manion’s Satisfied: Discovering Contentment in a World of Consumption.
In a nutshell: the lesson I learned can be summarized in a few words… Christians ought to emphasize the necessity for all to give – not just the affluent since giving itself constitutes a spiritual practice that can shape our spirit.
In light of Jeff Manion’s book, especially Chapter 13 titled “The Power of Sharing,” I believe the practice of giving is not something for affluent people only. It is also an opportunity to shape my heart as a PhD student and not depend on my own strength.
One of my goals for this year is to continue practicing church giving despite temporal financial circumstances. I did Project no. 2 (see p. 136) regarding the impact of annual giving on my finances. After calculating my donations to the congregation I attend and a couple of non-profit organizations I support, I discovered I was giving a higher percentage than in the past years. Honestly, I did not know how I did it but I’m glad about the results.
The practice of giving has contributed to my formation to be more careful about the way I use money, especially of things I don’t need. I notice, however, that selecting a particular date during a month to give has been a good idea. In that day, my church and the non-profits take a specific donation from my account. I learned a lot during this process considering that most of my income supports my doctoral studies such as buying books, planning personal projects, and so on.
Perhaps the surprising aspect I noticed was the fact that my total income increased compared to previous years where my donation percentage was lower. Definitely, this is an interesting thing to think about!