The Three Ts of Giving

Sitting through what must have been the 15th Zoom meeting this month already, I tried hard to concentrate on what was being shared. Brothers in Christ were sharing, teaching, and encouraging one another during our weekly Building My Footprint for God small group study. Although this is a beta class, the learning is very real. As we work through the guide each week, our friendly group is trying to find ways where we can enhance the material to better aid others in learning. Christians must learn the important lessons of stewardship and building a lasting legacy.

Wait, what did Reverend Raymond say? Oh, I like that; “Time, Talent, and Treasury.” I’ve got to remember that one. A few minutes later, while listening to the podcast, I heard it again. Okay Lord, I’m listening. Nearing the end of this week’s study, Mr. Kenn said it again; “Giving, in its purest form, is much more than reaching into your wallet. It’s sharing all the blessings God has provided in your life with others by gifting them from your time, talents, or treasury.”

I’ve heard this phrase used many times through the years, and almost always in church settings. I guess I wrote it off as “Christian-ease.” No one else talks of lofty things like giving to others from the storehouse of blessings God has given us. Used three times within 45 minutes, there’s something I need to understand about this phrase. When that happens, what do you do? For me, I realize it’s time for a Father-son talk.

Lord, help me better understand what the guys were trying to say. Why is this phrase an earworm? I’ve got medical procedures, oral surgery, quarterly reports to file, a thousand things to get done; why this? Why now Father? Please help me understand what I need to learn today Lord. With that brief prayer, I could get on with my day. My “To Do” list, with things I need to accomplish in the next six days has grown to 46 items. How am I ever going to get all this done by next Monday?

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Even though I’ve shared my heart’s questions and needs with God, my OCD-equipped mind continues to process thoughts in the background as I go about my day. Checking things off my list, I pause at lunch and jot down a few verses that have popped into my head. James 1:17, Mark 12:41-44, 1 Timothy 5:8, 2 Corinthians 9:6, Luke 6:38. Yes Lord, I promise to look at these more this evening. God has written some of these on my heart, and I recall them easily. I’ve learned in this life that even though I know something, there is always more I can learn about it.

While my mind continued to process thoughts in the background, I completed the day and readied myself for bed. “Don’t forget that Post-It note” ran through my thoughts. Where did that come from? It’s from lunchtime today; thanks Lord. Turning the light in my den back on, I walked to the kitchen to recover my scribbled notes. Opening my Bible, I read each verse.

With the lesson on creating a lasting legacy of generosity and giving, God took the time to help me internalize and apply His word to my life. In doing so, He showed me that while I give from the “Three Ts of Giving”, I don’t always do it with a cheerful heart. At the turn of the century, I was among the few employees at a wireless telecommunications startup. Living on venture capital investment, we were beyond frugal, which fit my philosophy of trying to squeeze five quarters out of every dollar just fine. OPM, Other Peoples Money, was something I had always treated as more precious than my own.

In considering the 3Ts, I looked at each one.

  • Time: How often do I give of my time to bless others? Can I do more? Do I always give my time cheerfully or do I grumble and complain? Do I think I’m taking from myself instead of sharing the gift of a prolonged life God has given me?
  • Talent: God has blessed me with some writing gifts, exhortation, the gift of helps, and many others. How do I use these gifts to bless others? I pray daily my writing, speaking, and most importantly my actions show how important Christ is in my life.
  • Treasury: How do I bless others through financial means? Do I use more of it to bless my family, friends, and support God’s work in this world than I hoard for myself? Yes, financial security is important, but not more important than my eternal security. I know my soul is safe for eternity through my salvation. Yet, I understand my works here in this world will determine the gifts I have to lie at my Savior’s feet one day. I can’t stand the thought of standing empty-handed before the Lord following my judgment.
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God showed me a need to change my mindset from “What do I give Lord?” to one of “What should I keep?” It becomes easier to apply the three Ts of giving when I realize everything I have comes from God. I’m not taking from me, I’m giving from God. He has never failed to meet my need; and I am supposed to be a good steward of all His blessings. I pray something from this post might help you look at how you give to God and you find giving a more cheerful experience.

God’s blessings,

36 thoughts on “The Three Ts of Giving”

  1. Kathy Collard Miller

    I love your questions that go along with the three T’s. Great opportunity for spiritual heart surgery. I don’t know what kind of medical procedure you are having but God does. Praying for your safety and for the success of the procedure.

    1. We just shared one of those “Jesus thangs” Ms. Kathy. It was a heart procedure. No bypass surgery required, so am praising God for that today. Am tired, but pleased we are getting questions answered. Am so glad you enjoyed the post ma’am. God’s blessings.

  2. “I’m not taking from me, I’m giving from God.” This sentence grabbed me, friend. Thank you for this fresh perspective and encouragement.

    I’ll be praying for you and Ms. Diane as you go through your procedure. May God bless the doctor’s hands and give you a quick recovery.

    Peace and grace,

    1. Thank you so much Ms. Tammy. I’m certain I’ll be back on my game again very soon. I’ve got wonderful, praying friends, like you are are petitioning “the Great Physician” on my behalf. 🙂

  3. “I’m not taking from me, I’m giving from God. He has never failed to meet my need; and I am supposed to be a good steward of all His blessings.” That spoke volumes to me my friend and every one of your posts blesses me.

  4. The phrase that seems to have resounded with your other readers certainly resonated with me, too. J. D. Everything we have is a gift from God. The more we recognize that with thankful hearts, I believe we become much more generous with our time, talent and treasure.
    Blessings to you, and know I’ll be praying for safe and restorative medical treatments!

    1. So very true Ms. Martha. In reminding ourselves of this truth, our giving becomes so much easier as we’re focusing on all He does for us, not what we are doing for someone else. Amen my friend. And thank you so much for your prayers. Much better results than I expected.

  5. Like the others who commented before me, the phrase, “I’m not taking from me, I’m giving from God” stood out among the many other insightful words you shared. What a great way to think about our service to others! And I’m praying for your doctors, for you, and for Diane. Please keep us posted on your progress.

    1. Thank you Ms. Cathy. I’m going to be finer than frog’s hair in no time at all ma’am; I’m just sure of it. God’s blessings; and thank you for your kind prayers.

  6. Everything I have has been given to me by God. What is it I can give away for and to others? I appreciated your discussion of a familiar topic that we find too familar and often dismiss or rationalize. Thank you.

    1. It certainly is Ms. Melissa. I am certain that I’ve received much more in my life than I can ever give, but it sure feels good to try and catch up sometimes. 🙂

  7. Powerful message, J.D. When we ask the reflective questions you suggest under each of the three “Ts”, it helps evaluate where our heart is when it comes to giving. But I particularly like this: God showed me a need to change my mindset from “What do I give Lord?” to one of “What should I keep?”

    1. So glad you enjoyed the post Ms. Karen; as I do yours ma’am. Sometimes we need to go back and look at why we do things in service to God. I call it “giving myself a heart-check.” Thank you so much my gentle friend. God’s blessings.

  8. I’ve been recently reminded to jot down thoughts and ideas that God gives me RIGHT THEN, and act on them as soon as possible, so I loved your Post a Note and the follow-through later that night. Thanks for the reinforcement!
    I pray your “procedure” goes well.

  9. Your message dovetails nicely with another I’ve been mediating on this week. Thanks for your insight. You bless me every week with your writing talents, and I appreciate it very much.

    1. Oh I can’t wait to see yours Ms. Candyce. I love it when God chooses to use multiple messengers to get His message out to the world. Thank you ma’am. I’m blessed by your writing each week also sweet friend. You always give me pause to praise.

  10. Time. Check. Talent. Check. Treasury. Check. I think I’m good. So many blessings, so much to give back. What a joy! Now if I could just give more of my writing . . .

    1. I think that’s a request all writers have Ms. Karen. It’s good to go through our giving checklist now and again though ma’am; especially checking our “heart condition.” God’s blessings ma’am.

  11. Thank you for the reminder that we’re not the owners, just the caretakers of what God places in our lives. May we share with the same generosity with which He gives to us.

  12. God showed me a need to change my mindset from “What do I give Lord?” to one of “What should I keep?” For some reason, this was my favorite line out of the entire, very well written article. Maybe I just needed to hear it. Thank you again, brother.

  13. Your message is just what I needed as I am trying (with help from others) to make a decision about several events we have scheduled at church to raise funds to support mission projects. We are trying to decide whether to cancel or modify these events. Of course there are as many different opinions as there are people participating in the discussion. Your focus on Time, Talents, and Treasury is helping me get my thoughts together to continue our online discussion on these issues. Thank you, J.D. (Praying that you are recovering well from your procedure and that all are healthy on Cross-Dubya).

    1. That’s the amazing things about opinions Ms. Katherine; everyone has one. 😀 Sounds like you and your team have lots of praying to do. I’ll be praying God’s leading as you narrow down the choices and paths forward. I am so pleased that you found something I said useful. It’s nice to know that God still has more for me to accomplish. I will be recovering just fine and working towards finding the best resolution possible for my health issue my friend. Thank you so very much for your, and so many others also, prayers. I could feel them.

    1. Thank you so much Ms. LuAnn. I’ve long believed that we get what we give in this life. When we give with honoring God as our goal, we always get much more than we give. 🙂

    1. Thank you Ms. Connie. I know this is a topic many hear about often, but I think it’s an important one. There is much more to giving than how much we put in the offering plate or envelope each week. God’s blessings ma’am.

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