Last week on the blog, I talked about Spend Less, one of the four tenets of the Advent Conspiracy movement. This week, I want to touch on another tenet: Give More.

At first glance, these two tenets (Spend Less vs. Give More) seem to be contradictory. If you are going to give more, don’t you have to spend more?

It’s like playing the piano. I currently teach my two boys piano lessons at home. When they are learning the difference between playing loud and playing soft, they naturally want to speed up when the song gets louder or slow down when a song gets quieter. But it is quite possible to play a song loud and slow (like a national anthem), or quickly and quietly (like a movie soundtrack adding suspense to an intense scene).

Likewise, it is VERY possible for you to Give More while simultaneously Spending Less. For instance, you can give more of your time by making presents this year or volunteering someplace. You could give someone “coupons” for things like “shovel your drive,” “do your laundry,” “go on a date,” or “wash your car.” All it takes is a little creative thinking. And oftentimes you’ll find presents like these actually mean more to the recipient.

Along with this idea to Give More, I want to challenge you to consider how you can give more financially outside your family. Whether it be to Riverwood (which would help us a bunch with the addition of Jeff as our worship pastor! You can give online here), or a great group like Compassion, International Justice Mission, Blood:Water Mission, or some other Christ-centered organization, giving helps relieve the tension that so often grips our hearts. Giving frees us up so that our hearts aren’t wrapped up in money, but free to enjoy God and truly live life. Giving to others actually gives us joy.

This is why several years ago our family changed how we did our three gifts to each of our kids. Remember last week, I mentioned how we give each of our children three gifts based on the gifts of the Magi to the Christ Child. The “myrrh” gift we treat as a “practical” gift.

But it dawned on us that whenever we need to get our kids something practical, like socks or jeans, we just go out and get it without much thought. And so we now give away our kids’ myrrh gifts. They get to choose giving something like clean water or food or mosquito nets or something else really practical that those in less fortunate circumstances need. The first year we did this, I remember Maegan, our now-15-year-old saying, “I’m really glad we’re doing this!”

Giving More to others gives more joy to you. So while I encourage you to Spend Less, I challenge you to Give More, because God gave us Jesus, and Jesus gave up his life. So let’s follow His example and Give More.