4 Biblical Principles of Generosity

November 5, 2022

Most people we encounter believe generosity is important but don’t have this principle integrated into their long-term financial goals. They have a desire, but default to giving leftover cash to charities. 

There is nothing wrong with this approach, but we believe that there is a “generosity education gap” that we want to help fill. 

We believe generosity is an integral part of an aligned financial life. Here’s how we talk about generosity with our clients and the biblical principles of generosity we use to guide our approach. 

Establishing Generosity as Part of Your Financial Life

Your financial life can be broken down into four areas. We walk through a client’s income statement with them to discuss in depth their “Live, Give, Owe, Grow” plan. This framework was pioneered by Ron Blue and looks like:

  • Live: the cost of everyday living expenses
  • Give: how you give generously to others
  • Owe: taxes and debt that must be accounted for 
  • Grow: investments set up for long-term success

We usually present this in a pie chart and ask intentional questions that get at the heart of each area of their financial lives. This often leads clients to express a desire to increase their generous giving. We don’t have a set percentage we recommend for that section of the pie, but we do believe the Bible has indispensable advice on what true generosity looks like. 

Biblical Principles of Generosity

All of Our Wealth Belongs to the Lord

We believe generosity starts by viewing God as the owner. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians, “What do you have that you did not receive?” For us, that means we have a responsibility to steward and care for what the Lord has entrusted us with, because everything we have is a gift from him.

Viewing generosity in light of stewardship creates a mindset shift: it’s no longer about how much we can afford to give but how much we can afford to keep. 


Money Reveals What You Love

We spend our free time with our families because we love them. We invest in our hobbies because we find them fulfilling. We are dedicated to cheering on our favorite football teams because their success makes us proud. 

Jesus says it best in His Sermon on the Mount. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 ESV)

We invest our time and money into the things we love. If our hearts are focused inward, our financial decisions can tend to be very worldly and self-serving. If our hearts are focused on Christ and becoming more like him, our wealth serves as a tool for the advancement of his Kingdom. 


You Cannot Serve Two Masters

Only a few verses later, Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matthew 6: 24 ESV)

Our hearts cannot be shared. Notice the last sentence in this verse. Our hearts are so easily drawn to a number of idols. Jesus could have listed a number of things after the word “and.” But he chose to say “money.” Maybe that’s because a love for money is one of the biggest rivals to our devotion to the Lord in the human heart. 


The Way to Break Money’s Power Over Your Heart Is By Being Generous 

It’s not always easy to break the holds of idols on our hearts. People who have grown up in poverty may see money as security but have a hard time seeing the line between enough and excess. On the other hand, someone who has never had to worry about money or keep an eye on the budget may not know how to see anything beyond their way of living. 

But sometimes, by giving anyway, we can start to rob money of its hold over us and begin to see it as a gift from the Lord with which we honor him. Not only does this bless others, but we are blessed also. 


Neither Poverty Nor Riches

One way we like to think about our approach to financial planning comes from Proverbs 30:8-9, which says, “give me neither poverty nor riches, feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God.”

We want to help people steward their resources and hearts towards contentment, not either of these extremes. 

Reach out to an advisor today to learn more about creating a biblically-aligned financial plan.



Written By:

Matthew Bowerman


Matthew Bowerman is a financial advisor for OneAscent Wealth in Birmingham, Alabama.


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