Bigger Barn Syndrome – Part Five

Remember what your mother told you when you had two cookies and your sister had none? “Quick, eat them both before she can wrench one out of your greedy little hands!” Probably not. She would say, “Share.” What do you tell your own kids, nieces, and nephews when they have more than they need and a friend or sibling has none? We tell them to share. Watching someone eat two cookies in the presence of someone who has none doesn’t seem right, does it? We feel compelled to say or do something. Perhaps that’s why Jesus said, “Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you” (Matthew 5:42).

Imagine seeing the world from God’s point of view. Imagine being able to see everybody in the world who has two cookies and everyone who has none, all at the same time. You would probably say something. You would tell everyone to share. If God has blessed you with more than you need, it’s so that you can share your abundance with those who have need, Embracing that simple truth is the key to ridding your heart of greed and removing that dreaded Bigger Barn Syndrome.

It is so basic and simple – not easy, but simple… Generous giving (and living) will break the grip of greed on your life. So whether or not you think you have extra, give and give generously. You’ve got to give to the point that it forces you to adjust your lifestyle. If you are not willing to give to the point that it impacts your lifestyle, then according to Jesus you’re greedy. If you’re consuming to the point of having little or nothing left to give, you’re greedy. If you’re consuming and saving to the point that their’s little or nothing to give, you’re greedy.

I know that’s strong. Actually, it’s harsh.

But it’s true. 

Maybe this is a bit hard for you to swallow because you’ve never had a greedy thought in your life. Maybe you feel compassion every time you see someone in need. And in your heart you really do want to help. You want to give, but you can’t. Or you won’t. Why? Because you’re afraid you won’t have enough. But your heart genuinely goes out to those in need. So is it fair to say you’re greedy? Yes. Because greed is not a feeling; it’s a refusal to act.

You can feel compassion toward people in need and be as avaricious as Scrooge. Greed is evident not by how you feel but by what you do. Generous feelings and good intentions don’t compensate for a greedy heart; in fact, good intentions and greed can cohabit in your heart indefinitely. This is what makes this covert enemy such a threat to the heart. You may never feel it the way you do anger or guilt or even jealousy. But it’s there. It’s dangerous. And it can lead to total loss. 

Just as you can’t wait until you’re in shape to start exercising, you dare not wait to start giving until your fear of giving is gone. Don’t wait until God changes your heart to begin giving. Giving is the way God chooses to change our hearts. As your heart changes, your attitude and feelings will follow suit. God loves a cheerful giver, but He’’ll put your money to good use whether you’re cheerful or not. My advice: Give until you get cheerful.

Our giving must impact our lifestyle if it’s going to break the power of greed in our lives. The best way to do this is to become a percentage giver. Percentage giving involves giving away a percentage of everything you receive right off the top, as soon as you get it. Specifically, the first cheque or e-Transfer you would write after depositing your paycheque is a cheque to an organization(s) that supports the work of the Kingdom. That’s how you become rich toward God. In New Testament times there were no such organizations; believers gave to their place of worship and to the poor. We now have multiple options. Choose one or two to start. Now.

Writing this cheque or making this e-Transfer ensures that God’s Kingdom is funded ahead of yours. You’ll have to live on the leftovers for a change. If that scares you, start at a low percentage, say 2 percent. You’ll never miss it. Bump it up a percentage point every 6 months or every year until you’re giving at least 10 or 12 percent of your income. Giving at that level is evidence of a lifestyle adjustment. But percentage giving is just the beginning.

You need to be a spontaneous giver as well. When you see someone in need, give. Isn’t that what you expect God to do for you when you’re in need? Then go ahead and make the first move. If you’ve got extra and somebody is in need, share. That’s who your extra is there for. 

These two habits, percentage giving and spontaneous giving, will protect you from Bigger Barn Syndrome. The day will come when you receive an unexpected windfall and your first thought will be, who can I help? What Kingdom endeavour can I fund? In that moment you’ll know that through the habit of generous giving, you’ve broken the power of greed in your life.

It’s a habit that changes everything.