In our consumer-driven society, we’re constantly bombarded with the message that the key to happiness is having more—accumulating more possessions. We’re also told that if we make more money and accumulate a lot of financial assets, we will achieve “financial independence.”
Think about that idea. Are we ever truly financially independent? Wouldn’t that mean that we don’t need to depend on God?
Of course, the challenge of accumulating wealth yet not depending on it for our security is very real and significant. In working with clients at many different levels of wealth, I see firsthand the challenge of achieving this balance. We talk about the challenge and necessity of trusting in the Provider and not the provided.
So what is the key to financial freedom? I believe that the answer is counterintuitive. The key to financial independence is to live generously.
Why? Let’s look at 5 reasons:
1. It makes us depend on God
Based on my extensive experience with clients at many levels of affluence, I can tell you with certainty that those who have accumulated a lot of money spend a significant amount of time worrying about losing it, how to protect it, and who might want to take it from them—just as much time as those who don't have much money spend worrying about not having any.
When you have a lot of material wealth, it is hard to look elsewhere for security. But when we begin living generously, money starts to lose its hold on us, and we can grow in our ability to trust the Provider and not the provided.
2. It makes us more like God
Ephesians 4 tells us to put off our old selves, which are being corrupted by deceitful desires, and to be made new in the attitude of our minds. We are to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
So we are to put off this worry, this tendency to look to your wealth for security. By living generously and giving of our wealth, we take a big step forward in becoming more like our righteous God and aligning our hearts to Him.
3. It grows our love for God and others
Our behavior guides our thinking and our feelings. Knowing that, do you want to live in a state of worry over your financial assets? Or do you want to live in a state of generosity, and let that positive, Godly action guide your mind and heart?
I can promise you this without a doubt: if you live generously, you will grow in your love of God and others. No question!
4. It breaks our dependence on materialism
When we give of our financial resources, we experience the abundant joy of giving. And in doing so, we realize that the joy of giving is far greater than our enjoyment of stuff—or than anything else we could do with our money.
5. It earns our heavenly reward and gives us life that is truly life indeed
1 Timothy 6:19 makes it clear that by being generous we will lay up treasure for ourselves as a firm foundation for the coming age and experience life on earth that is truly life.
You will always make a profit when you give yourself away.
In John 21:17, Jesus asked Peter 3 times, "Do you love me?" Then He said, "Feed my sheep."
If we love Jesus, we need to feed his sheep!