Overcoming the Obstacles of Giving as a Student - Part 1

Being a college student is a unique period of life. You are independent but not fully “on
your own.” You work hard but do not have a full-time job. You have community but also know goodbyes are on the horizon. This unique season results in obstacles that can keep college students from experiencing the joy of giving financially to primarily their church and secondarily the ministries that are blessing others around the world. This brief article will explore two common excuses I have told myself and which I’ve heard other students vocalize that the devil, the world, and our sin natures are using to steal away the joy found within giving. I don’t pretend to have all the answers; nor am I claiming to have already achieved the ideal giving lifestyle. However, the Lord has softened my heart in this area, and I pray that He might use my words, which are indebted to His Word, to soften yours as well. If you are not a college student, you will find that these obstacles may resonate with your current stage of life as well.

Obstacle 1: “I am in debt and currently don’t have a lot of money so it wouldn’t be wise for me to give right now.”

Part of financial stewardship is being responsible enough to pay off debt and student
loans, but should this responsibility come at the expense of giving generously to your church? According to the wisdom of this world, this endeavor would appear to be idiotic. For example, Dave Ramsey, one of the financial gurus of the day, suggests that one of the first steps to financial success is paying off debts. Whereas the practice of giving generously does not begin until the final step. Although there is much truth present in this system, gospel wisdom saturates financial giving into all stages of life.

Suppose that you are 16 years old and have become good buddies with Doc Brown (the
scientist from Back to the Future). He takes you back twenty years to when the company Tesla started. Knowing what you know now, on that trip would you invest your money in Tesla? Of course you would! Regardless of how much money you have, you would scrap together as much as possible because you know what the future payoff would be. Similarly, we know through God’s Word what the payoff will be for our present giving. Our current possessions, which on their own will tarnish and fade, have the power to store up for us eternal “treasures in heaven.” This is the investment of a lifetime! How could any financial situation keep you from participating in this gracious gift? Randy Alcorn expresses this idea when he says, “You can’t take it with you – but you can send it on ahead.” 3 Additionally, God does not promise that you will gain wealth in the future. For all you know, this period of life may be your greatest opportunity to give. Don’t waste it!

Those of us in our early earning years must ask ourselves how much of our income is
being spent unnecessarily. Biblical giving is sacrificial giving and will result in there being
“things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.” How many times a week do you eat out? How often do you buy coffee? What entertainment platforms are you paying for? These questions and more show us where spending could be reduced and consequently how we can give generously. A practical method to analyze your spending habits is to budget. Although it will take a bit of work and time, budgeting using one of the many available mediums will be beneficial as you look to give toward the only everlasting kingdom.

Part 2 here!

“Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps,” Ramsey Solutions, accessed March 24, 2024,
Randy C. Alcorn, The Treasure Principle, Lifechange Books (Sisters, Or: Multnomah Publishers, 2017).
C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity (rev. ed; New York: Harper-Collins, 2001 [orig. 1952]). 86.
Some of the apps and websites available include Every Dollar: Budget Tracker, Zeta, and Empower Personal Dashboard.

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