I was a multiple-job-during-college type of student. I am incredibly grateful for parents who helped alleviate some of the cost of college, but if I wanted something extra or needed groceries, I was going to have to figure out how to pay for it on my own.
Fast forward to today, I am a young adult with bills and rent to pay, student loans to think about, and a savings account that could always be added to. It is so easy to stress about money at this age or really any age, if we are honest. And it’s never quite too early to start thinking about retirement.
I can easily put my value and time into thinking about how much is in my bank account. While it may be costly to give financially as a young adult, I want to urge college students and young adults to consider what God has given them to leverage for the kingdom and family of Christ.
Remember the Source of All You Have
We give away our resources because we serve a God who is a giver. Furthermore, we give eagerly and generously because we are imitators of our Savior, who has given us the ultimate gift of salvation so generously and without hesitation despite how undeserving we are (John 3:16; Romans 8:32).
In a culture filled with excess and a natural inclination toward newness, remember what is essential and important. I’m not saying that it is wrong to pick up a latte on the way to work or to chip away at your student loans, but it’s so easy to prioritize ourselves over the kingdom of God.
Am I grasping my money with tight fists hoping that I am not asked to give it to someone or something beyond myself? Or am I holding my hands open with all that I have telling God that I am willing to give it all?
As we steward our money, we must remember the reason we have it in the first place (1 Timothy 6:17–18). Everything that we have is a gift from God and ultimately belongs to him. When I remember why and from who I have what I have, then I am bound to think about how I can use what God has given me to glorify and serve him (James 1:17).
Carefully Consider to What You Give
At the moment, your “little” might not seem like “a lot.” At the beginning of a semester after you pay for expensive textbooks, you may have only a little left over. However, the heart behind giving is more important than the amount. We are all a part of the sum—the family of Christ’s work does not rest on a sole person’s shoulders.
The heart behind giving is more important than the amount.
The weight of the Great Commission is vitally important for each believer, so we must take steps to obey this command. When you think about giving to the Church, think about how your giving can aid global missions work. Referred to as the Great Imbalance, only 1.7% of missions giving is given to reach unreached peoples. Another way to put this is for every $100,000 that Christians earn, they only give $1.70 to reaching unreached people groups. So that begs the question of how can we help change this?
Our greatest and most urgent need in the world is reconciliation to God. Even today, there are people groups that have never heard the life-changing message of the gospel. There are missions organizations and missionaries seeking to change this so one day everyone will know the redeeming name of Jesus Christ. As you think about what you can give away, consider looking at organizations that support missionaries in unreached places like Radical’s Urgent initiative. Take time to talk to a pastor at your local church about giving to a special missions fund or reach out to a friend that is serving as a missionary in a hard-to-reach place.
Take the time to pray about where you should donate your resources. Pray for God to change your heart to become more generous. Remember that your money does not determine your value. Pray for God to show you how you can give your best as you seek to live out the Great Commission.
Consider What Else God Gifted You With
Whether it seems negligible or immense, giving as a young adult will most likely be costly. But what is incredible and gracious about God is that he does not only grant us with finances, but with talents and other resources. Consider what God has given you beyond money and how that can be sacrificed and used to advance the kingdom of God.
Do you know another language? Consider teaching aspiring missionaries or use it to share the gospel with others. Do you love to write? Send letters to missionaries to build them up and to encourage them to endure (1 Thessalonians 5:11). Did your schedule free up on a particular day? Use that time to pray for missionaries around the world to be equipped and sustained to continue their work to spread the gospel to all nations.
For every $100,000 that Christians earn, they only give $1.70 to reaching unreached people groups.
When we acknowledge the greatness of the gift of salvation and freedom from our sins we have because of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross, gratitude and the desire to share this hope with others are bound to follow. As we seek to spread the gospel to all nations and to make disciples, I urge you to remember that we all play a part in this commandment regardless of our age or how much is in our bank accounts. And ultimately, we have been graciously given all that we have in order to delightfully give to, glorify, and serve our Almighty God (2 Corinthians 9:6–8).