I love being generous. I enjoy treating my family and friends to meals, events, and gifts and watching their reactions and pleasure. We didn't have any expendable income when I was growing up so I'm sure that contributes to my desire to spoil those that I care about. My wife and I also love to be generous for the sake of God's Kingdom. We want to support missionaries, sponsor children, and contribute to the growth of our local church. It's a way to feel that our God-given resources are being used in a way that makes a difference that is bigger than we are.
This wasn't always our mindset. Early in our marriage we were consumed with the next best thing and how we could enjoy something now by paying for it later. It led us down a nasty road of debt and poor financial management and constrained the freedom of our resources. We were also a one-income family after children arrived and had limited earning potential working in the school system. In the midst of an unbalanced checkbook we couldn't even see the possibility of giving generously for the cause of Christ. It was easier to put a $20 bill in the offering plate to appease temporary guilt than doing more and trusting God to cover the gap.
It isn't an easy transition in the beginning, but a failure of nerve in our finances will never lead to a balanced budget. As difficult as it may seem at the start, we have to prayerfully commit to taking the first step of faith and giving to God's Kingdom work first. It might mean saying no to the newest outfit, car, dining experience or road trip, but it will bring deeper satisfaction when we see the impact we are having in lives beyond our own. Start trusting God with the management of your resources first instead of doing what we think is best and then asking Him to bless the decisions we made without His input in the first place.