Generosity

6 Barriers to a Mindset of Generosity and How to Overcome Them

If God calls us to generosity, then what’s keeping us from being cheerful givers? We might battle any number of factors when it comes to being generous, including cultural factors, financial challenges, upbringing, specific fears, or anything else. But regardless of the balance in our checking account, generosity starts with having the right mindset.We provide 6 ways to overcome mental barriers to generosity.

It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35 NIV)

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8 KJV)

  • A mindset of generosity is a mindset that sees giving as a blessing, anticipates God’s provision, and doesn’t fear lacking. 
  • A mindset of generosity looks for opportunities to give–and rejoices in providing for others. 
  • A mindset of generosity ultimately results in a happier, fuller life rooted in the belief that there is always enough. 

But unfortunately, many of us don’t operate from a mindset of generosity. When it comes to giving, we often think we can only give what we can spare, or what’s left over after we’ve paid our regular expenses. We fear being generous, especially when things look tight. And we don’t always trust that God will provide for us when we provide for others. 

In the following article, we’ll talk about six barriers to a mindset of generosity–and the tools, teachings, and truths to overcoming them. 

The Benefits of Generosity 

While God’s Word is our source for giving joyfully, even the secular world recognizes the blessing of generosity. 

A 2018 paper published by UC Berkeley called the “The Science of Generosity” explained why humans were designed to be generous, and why people who give their time, goods, and resources experience positive benefits. 

“Giving social support—time, effort, or goods—is associated with better overall health in older adults, and volunteering is associated with delayed mortality,” explains the paper. 

“The Science of Generosity” also associates spending money on others with psychological benefits and even future motivation to give. 

“​​Some studies have found that people are happier when spending money on others than on themselves, and this happiness motivates them to be generous in the future.”

Ultimately, of course, being generous is about obeying the Word of God and looking to the welfare of others. Still, there are well-researched psychological and physical benefits to giving. 

If that’s the case, then why don’t people give more than they do? And why do only 5% of people who go to church tithe?

6 Barriers to a Mindset of Generosity 

If God calls us to generosity, then what’s keeping us from being cheerful givers?

We might battle any number of factors when it comes to being generous, including cultural factors, financial challenges, upbringing, specific fears, or anything else. But regardless of the balance in our checking account, generosity starts with having the right mindset.

Here are six mental barriers to generosity and how to combat them with truth. 

“I can’t afford to give.”

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)

In this story, Jesus addressed a core truth about generosity: It’s not about the amount, it’s about the heart. In other words, anyone can afford to give something if their heart is in the right place. 

On a practical note, if you don’t feel like you can afford to be generous, then you might want to think about restructuring your spending habits. For example, if you spend $10 a week at coffee shops, then you might want to consider funneling some of your coffee budget towards giving instead. Simple lifestyle changes can make generosity feasible where it may have otherwise been extremely difficult. 

For Church Leaders: Don’t just encourage church members to give; talk about practical strategies for budgeting. Get church members excited about reframing their spending habits and empower them to be generous, regardless of their financial situation or regular income. 

“Generosity is for rich people.”

It can be tempting to believe that generosity is only for the very wealthy, especially when we hear about donors who give tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for various causes. 

But the statistics on giving communicate a different reality. 

One UK report found that, in a study of over 1,000 donors to British charities, the least well-off gave “an average of almost 4.5 percent to good causes,” with the most well-off giving an average of just over 2%. 

As mentioned above, anyone can be generous, and everyone is called to be generous. Giving to others is not about having an abundance of resources. It’s about taking to heart the fact that it’s truly blessed to give. 

For Church Leaders: Remind those with smaller incomes that their generosity is significant too, and that they have a part to play in building the Kingdom of God and providing for others. 

“Radical generosity is unwise.”

From a worldly perspective, it might look foolish to regularly tithe 10% of your income, or to make a generous donation with no promise of return. 

But radical generosity is wisdom, according to the Bible. 

….give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38)

When you give generously, you can not only expect to experience the joy of generosity. You can expect to receive it abundantly. 

Talk to anyone who has given a radically generous gift, and you’ll find that the act of giving freed them up from feeling bound to their material items, or enslaved to their finances. 

“I was given a large sum of money after college. After a few years, I felt led to help a friend’s family member pay off their home mortgage using a good portion of that money,” said a church member in San Diego, CA. 

“Now, there’s a new precedent for me to give–and I’m not anxious about the money I have or the money I’ve been given.”

For Church Leaders: Testify to acts of generosity both large and small. Remember that generosity doesn’t just come as financial gifts, but in the form of goods and loaned items. For example, you may have church members that loaned out their cars, allowed others to live with them for free, or paid for someone’s college tuition. 

“I’m afraid of running out of money.”

Fear is one of the most common barriers to any Biblical mindset. And fear surrounding money can be especially challenging, especially when someone has experienced financial difficulty or poverty in the past. 

But Biblical wisdom says that you will be rewarded when you give. 

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. (Proverbs 11:24-25)

When you give, you can expect to experience provision. Part of adopting a Biblical mindset towards giving is identifying fear about money or provision, and then turning towards Scripture to renew your mind on the subject. 

For Church Leaders: Remind your church of the Biblical principle of giving and rewards. This isn’t about God as cosmic “slot machine.” It’s about an expectation that God rewards a generous heart. He won’t necessarily give you all your material wealth back, but he will take care of you.

“What if _________ happens again?”

Many of us have experienced painful episodes in the past with regards to money. Some of us may have grown up in families that struggled with money. Others may have experienced bankruptcy, loss of employment, significant debt, and other financial hardships. 

It’s important to acknowledge and work through financial challenges. But like anything, we don’t have to allow past trauma to define our current attitudes or behavior (1 John 4:18). Past financial pain doesn’t need to determine how you view your ability to give now. 

For Church Leaders: Don’t ignore the fact that many of your church members may have experienced financial hardship. Address financial challenges, provide practical strategies for prevention, and again, remind them that those who give can expect to be taken care of by God. 

“____________ doesn’t need my help.”

It can be easy to believe that a specific church or organization doesn’t need your help–especially when that church appears to be resourced, or have plenty of congregants. 

Or, it might be tempting to believe that your contribution won’t make a difference. What will $50 do in a massive church? 

But everyone has a role to play in giving and supporting. Every gift helps. As shown in the story of the widow with the two coins, Scripture shows us that giving is not about how much you give; it’s about the heart. 

For Church Leaders: Give vision for all your church members to participate in generosity. When you explain how even small gifts can make a big difference, you empower everybody to make an impact. 

Whether you’re talking about a building fund, supporting a missionary family, or regular giving, envision your church to take action and believe God for provision. 

What is a Cheerful Giver?


The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

What is a “cheerful giver”?

According to the Bible, it’s one that joyfully gives. 

Anyone that has ever been generous–especially when being generous might feel challenging–knows the true joy of giving. But giving “reluctantly or under compulsion” doesn’t generally produce a positive response, as Scripture explains. Instead, that can produce legalism, grumpiness, or even bitterness. 

Giving should be a joyful act. Whether you’re taking up an offering, talking about a specific fund, or giving a sermon on generosity, remind your church members that giving is not a “box to check off,” but an opportunity to experience joy and provision. 

As the Scripture above explains, “God is able to make all grace abound to you” in every good work. In other words, believe and anticipate the grace of God, and giving will become not only an act of faith, but an act accompanied by delight. 

Giving with Tithe.ly

Adopting a mindset of generosity is about creating a lifestyle around giving abundantly. That can look like freely giving goods and resources to friends or community members in need. It can look like giving up a Saturday afternoon to volunteer at a food drive or shelter. Or, it can look like giving to one’s church family. 

But creating vision for giving–including Scripture, Biblical principles, testimonies, and making time for tithes and offerings–is only the beginning of building a program for giving to your church. 

Adopting the right tools and infrastructure for giving at church is an essential part of encouraging generosity.  If your church members want to respond to giving, then they need an easy, efficient way to take action

Tithe.ly is a giving platform that makes it simple for church members to give anywhere, at anytime. It’s simple to use, secure, and offers a number of different options for giving. It integrates smoothly with your existing website and branding, offers mobile giving, and can be linked to your accounting tools to make giving a simple, successful, and joyful experience. 

Best of all, Tithe.ly also offers an all-in-one solution, so that you can expand your giving to include a branded website, church app, communication tool, church reporting, and much, much more. Now is the time to streamline all your digital resources and go with Tithe.ly’s All Access plan to get everything you need. 

At the end of the day, giving is not about building up your church or gaining resources. It’s about creating a community of like-minded believers and cheerful givers who act in faith to participate in the Kingdom of God. 

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6 Barriers to a Mindset of Generosity and How to Overcome Them

6 Barriers to a Mindset of Generosity and How to Overcome Them

If God calls us to generosity, then what’s keeping us from being cheerful givers? We might battle any number of factors when it comes to being generous, including cultural factors, financial challenges, upbringing, specific fears, or anything else. But regardless of the balance in our checking account, generosity starts with having the right mindset.We provide 6 ways to overcome mental barriers to generosity.

Show notes

It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35 NIV)

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:8 KJV)

  • A mindset of generosity is a mindset that sees giving as a blessing, anticipates God’s provision, and doesn’t fear lacking. 
  • A mindset of generosity looks for opportunities to give–and rejoices in providing for others. 
  • A mindset of generosity ultimately results in a happier, fuller life rooted in the belief that there is always enough. 

But unfortunately, many of us don’t operate from a mindset of generosity. When it comes to giving, we often think we can only give what we can spare, or what’s left over after we’ve paid our regular expenses. We fear being generous, especially when things look tight. And we don’t always trust that God will provide for us when we provide for others. 

In the following article, we’ll talk about six barriers to a mindset of generosity–and the tools, teachings, and truths to overcoming them. 

The Benefits of Generosity 

While God’s Word is our source for giving joyfully, even the secular world recognizes the blessing of generosity. 

A 2018 paper published by UC Berkeley called the “The Science of Generosity” explained why humans were designed to be generous, and why people who give their time, goods, and resources experience positive benefits. 

“Giving social support—time, effort, or goods—is associated with better overall health in older adults, and volunteering is associated with delayed mortality,” explains the paper. 

“The Science of Generosity” also associates spending money on others with psychological benefits and even future motivation to give. 

“​​Some studies have found that people are happier when spending money on others than on themselves, and this happiness motivates them to be generous in the future.”

Ultimately, of course, being generous is about obeying the Word of God and looking to the welfare of others. Still, there are well-researched psychological and physical benefits to giving. 

If that’s the case, then why don’t people give more than they do? And why do only 5% of people who go to church tithe?

6 Barriers to a Mindset of Generosity 

If God calls us to generosity, then what’s keeping us from being cheerful givers?

We might battle any number of factors when it comes to being generous, including cultural factors, financial challenges, upbringing, specific fears, or anything else. But regardless of the balance in our checking account, generosity starts with having the right mindset.

Here are six mental barriers to generosity and how to combat them with truth. 

“I can’t afford to give.”

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and he saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And he said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” (Luke 21:1-4)

In this story, Jesus addressed a core truth about generosity: It’s not about the amount, it’s about the heart. In other words, anyone can afford to give something if their heart is in the right place. 

On a practical note, if you don’t feel like you can afford to be generous, then you might want to think about restructuring your spending habits. For example, if you spend $10 a week at coffee shops, then you might want to consider funneling some of your coffee budget towards giving instead. Simple lifestyle changes can make generosity feasible where it may have otherwise been extremely difficult. 

For Church Leaders: Don’t just encourage church members to give; talk about practical strategies for budgeting. Get church members excited about reframing their spending habits and empower them to be generous, regardless of their financial situation or regular income. 

“Generosity is for rich people.”

It can be tempting to believe that generosity is only for the very wealthy, especially when we hear about donors who give tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for various causes. 

But the statistics on giving communicate a different reality. 

One UK report found that, in a study of over 1,000 donors to British charities, the least well-off gave “an average of almost 4.5 percent to good causes,” with the most well-off giving an average of just over 2%. 

As mentioned above, anyone can be generous, and everyone is called to be generous. Giving to others is not about having an abundance of resources. It’s about taking to heart the fact that it’s truly blessed to give. 

For Church Leaders: Remind those with smaller incomes that their generosity is significant too, and that they have a part to play in building the Kingdom of God and providing for others. 

“Radical generosity is unwise.”

From a worldly perspective, it might look foolish to regularly tithe 10% of your income, or to make a generous donation with no promise of return. 

But radical generosity is wisdom, according to the Bible. 

….give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38)

When you give generously, you can not only expect to experience the joy of generosity. You can expect to receive it abundantly. 

Talk to anyone who has given a radically generous gift, and you’ll find that the act of giving freed them up from feeling bound to their material items, or enslaved to their finances. 

“I was given a large sum of money after college. After a few years, I felt led to help a friend’s family member pay off their home mortgage using a good portion of that money,” said a church member in San Diego, CA. 

“Now, there’s a new precedent for me to give–and I’m not anxious about the money I have or the money I’ve been given.”

For Church Leaders: Testify to acts of generosity both large and small. Remember that generosity doesn’t just come as financial gifts, but in the form of goods and loaned items. For example, you may have church members that loaned out their cars, allowed others to live with them for free, or paid for someone’s college tuition. 

“I’m afraid of running out of money.”

Fear is one of the most common barriers to any Biblical mindset. And fear surrounding money can be especially challenging, especially when someone has experienced financial difficulty or poverty in the past. 

But Biblical wisdom says that you will be rewarded when you give. 

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. (Proverbs 11:24-25)

When you give, you can expect to experience provision. Part of adopting a Biblical mindset towards giving is identifying fear about money or provision, and then turning towards Scripture to renew your mind on the subject. 

For Church Leaders: Remind your church of the Biblical principle of giving and rewards. This isn’t about God as cosmic “slot machine.” It’s about an expectation that God rewards a generous heart. He won’t necessarily give you all your material wealth back, but he will take care of you.

“What if _________ happens again?”

Many of us have experienced painful episodes in the past with regards to money. Some of us may have grown up in families that struggled with money. Others may have experienced bankruptcy, loss of employment, significant debt, and other financial hardships. 

It’s important to acknowledge and work through financial challenges. But like anything, we don’t have to allow past trauma to define our current attitudes or behavior (1 John 4:18). Past financial pain doesn’t need to determine how you view your ability to give now. 

For Church Leaders: Don’t ignore the fact that many of your church members may have experienced financial hardship. Address financial challenges, provide practical strategies for prevention, and again, remind them that those who give can expect to be taken care of by God. 

“____________ doesn’t need my help.”

It can be easy to believe that a specific church or organization doesn’t need your help–especially when that church appears to be resourced, or have plenty of congregants. 

Or, it might be tempting to believe that your contribution won’t make a difference. What will $50 do in a massive church? 

But everyone has a role to play in giving and supporting. Every gift helps. As shown in the story of the widow with the two coins, Scripture shows us that giving is not about how much you give; it’s about the heart. 

For Church Leaders: Give vision for all your church members to participate in generosity. When you explain how even small gifts can make a big difference, you empower everybody to make an impact. 

Whether you’re talking about a building fund, supporting a missionary family, or regular giving, envision your church to take action and believe God for provision. 

What is a Cheerful Giver?


The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

What is a “cheerful giver”?

According to the Bible, it’s one that joyfully gives. 

Anyone that has ever been generous–especially when being generous might feel challenging–knows the true joy of giving. But giving “reluctantly or under compulsion” doesn’t generally produce a positive response, as Scripture explains. Instead, that can produce legalism, grumpiness, or even bitterness. 

Giving should be a joyful act. Whether you’re taking up an offering, talking about a specific fund, or giving a sermon on generosity, remind your church members that giving is not a “box to check off,” but an opportunity to experience joy and provision. 

As the Scripture above explains, “God is able to make all grace abound to you” in every good work. In other words, believe and anticipate the grace of God, and giving will become not only an act of faith, but an act accompanied by delight. 

Giving with Tithe.ly

Adopting a mindset of generosity is about creating a lifestyle around giving abundantly. That can look like freely giving goods and resources to friends or community members in need. It can look like giving up a Saturday afternoon to volunteer at a food drive or shelter. Or, it can look like giving to one’s church family. 

But creating vision for giving–including Scripture, Biblical principles, testimonies, and making time for tithes and offerings–is only the beginning of building a program for giving to your church. 

Adopting the right tools and infrastructure for giving at church is an essential part of encouraging generosity.  If your church members want to respond to giving, then they need an easy, efficient way to take action

Tithe.ly is a giving platform that makes it simple for church members to give anywhere, at anytime. It’s simple to use, secure, and offers a number of different options for giving. It integrates smoothly with your existing website and branding, offers mobile giving, and can be linked to your accounting tools to make giving a simple, successful, and joyful experience. 

Best of all, Tithe.ly also offers an all-in-one solution, so that you can expand your giving to include a branded website, church app, communication tool, church reporting, and much, much more. Now is the time to streamline all your digital resources and go with Tithe.ly’s All Access plan to get everything you need. 

At the end of the day, giving is not about building up your church or gaining resources. It’s about creating a community of like-minded believers and cheerful givers who act in faith to participate in the Kingdom of God. 

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