[By Heidi Damon] I was born and raised in a Pentecostal church, giving was not optional, it was a given value of church. I am so grateful for being schooled at a young age in the importance of giving. In fact, the question I have grown to ask is how much money should I keep for myself, rather than how much of God’s money should I give away! Do you see the subtle but hugely significant difference that determines how one views how we steward finances, possessions or even time?
In an individualist, consumerist based society it is easy to get sidetracked and influenced by a culture that predetermines what success should look like. The lure of a better life has often left us scrambling to reach the pinnacle of success and somehow when we obtain it we find ourselves seeking after the next thing because somehow we have not been satisfied in our pursuit. The progressive undertone of our egos has somehow allowed us to create a society in which there is a deep divide between the haves and the have nots!
For me, giving has been a journey of discovery and a journey of forging a different kind of culture. A culture that is based on Kingdom values, a culture that seeks equality. I seem to find myself coming back to Acts 2 and drawn to the notion of a ‘common purse’. The idea that if we collectively give, then nobody would go without. When Ed and I moved to Southwark with our best friend, to set up a community home, in which we would foster homeless teenagers, one of the core values of our home was generosity. One of the ways we did this financially was to establish a ‘common purse’. This was to ensure that there was always an overflow of finances to ensure the running of the home and importantly finance to bless others. Whether that was helping one of our foster daughters get accommodation, or hosting regular community meals, or hosting a family of 6 when their house burnt down, or blessing people financially who were in need, the basic principle was always to have an overflow to be a blessing!
To give is not just about our finances but it is about discipleship at its deepest level. It is about hearing what God is asking of us, which involves holding our possessions, finance and time lightly, so that it’s easy to respond to God. Jesus himself said it was hard for someone rich to enter into the Kingdom because they held on to their possessions too tightly.
Whilst our seasons have varied and we have had to adapt, for example I was made redundant last year, leaving us with no maternity pay for when Aviah came along. This has never stopped us asking God how He wants us to steward our finances. Oh and by the way, he has always been faithful and we have always had enough! To understand that our money is not ours but it is God’s, means that we are learning to hold our finances lightly and to trust God in every season, as well as being able to bless this world & work towards equality!
Heidi is part of our operation team at The Well and leads the Hospitality spoke. For more of what we teach and practice on giving at The Well see our giving page