The Inverted Generosity Pyramid

by Paul Damon on February 04, 2016 | Stewardship, Personal Finance

For most of us, giving is part of our lives. We build it into our financial plan, and we budget for our expenses accordingly.

Traditional generosity pyramid

The way we live and give depends, in large part, on our beliefs regarding stewardship and personal responsibility. But if we analyze our giving and living expenses, most of us probably have an allocation that looks something like this:

  • Expenditures on lifestyle: 50 - 75%
  • Expenditures for taxes: 20 - 40%                       
  • Savings and investing: 0 - 25%
  • Giving: 0 - 20%

Inverting Your Stewardship

How would the world be different if Christians had an inverted view of our stewardship responsibility? Let’s think about this honestly. What might happen if our living and finances looked more like this:

Inverted generosity pyramid
  • Expenditures on lifestyle: 20 - 40%
  • Expenditures for taxes: 10 - 25%
  • Savings and investing: 10 - 20%
  • Giving: 20 - 50%

In order for this to happen, we would need to make some real sacrifices and unusual commitments. And it would take a certain amount of income and wealth to live this way; not everyone could do it.

But if those who could give 20 – 50% of their income did it, I believe it would change the world for the Kingdom of God. Embracing true generosity would transform us—and the world—for eternity. 

A Generous Example

One of the more well-known examples of this type of generosity is Rick Warren

Rick has a huge platform, primarily due to the success of his book, The Purpose Driven Life, which has sold 30 million copies and become the 2nd most translated book in the world, after the Bible. He and his wife have steadily increased their giving to 91% of their income. It’s what they call a reverse tithe

Today, in response to this modeling, Pastor Rick’s church is ostensibly the most generous church in America.

Embracing the Inverted Generosity Pyramid

Not everyone is able to make the inversion in their giving happen, but I believe—and evidence supports—that many more could. 

You don’t have to look far to see evidence of the many discretionary expenditures that Americans choose to make every day. Just imagine what those same dollars could accomplish if invested in the Kingdom, to help the disadvantaged and spread the Gospel.

The fact is, we need a true transformation in our view of generosity. It is our responsibility to be stewards of everything we have.

Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

1 Timothy 6:17-19

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Stewardship a Biblical Worldview

The secular worldview and biblical worldview on stewardship are quite different. Check out our blog here and let’s help build the kingdom together.







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