The biggest stumbling block that I see when it comes to giving is people putting self-interests above others’ interests. When you have selfish motives or a materialistic attitude it becomes increasingly difficult to stick to a set of principles. For example, if greed, jealousy, envy, or other selfish desires get the best of you, the almighty dollar becomes a major focal point. Not only will this force consume you, it will eat you alive! You see, unless you find true contentment, you will always be envious of someone with more money and more things who is better-looking, younger, or has something that you want.
Without contentment, there is no line to be drawn; there is no point where you say enough is enough. Once you cross the line, it becomes easier and easier to push that line farther and farther out. It seemed innocent at first. Now, your desires for more have gotten the best of you. You may even wake up one day, look at yourself in the mirror, and not even recognize who you’ve become. Make money your god, and before you know it you often become a slave to money. When this occurs, you will stop at nothing to obtain more. Like Gollum from the Lord of the Rings series, you become consumed by money and it becomes your “precious.” Avoid the stumbling block by learning to become content. This involves breaking free from consumerism and materialism.
The major way to give more is to break free from the grips of materialism. The goal of this life should not be to accumulate money for the sake of personal gain. As a person of faith, our God may bless us with wealth, but it ultimately belongs to Him and thus should be used to glorify Him.
The American lifestyle is easily glorified. I don’t want to sound anti-American; America truly is the home of opportunity. With a creative mind and a hard work ethic, anything is possible, but don’t be fooled by the extravagant lifestyles of the rich and famous. They make up a small percentage of the country’s population. Don’t try to compete. Instead, start by examining your lifestyle; look at the clothes you wear, the car you drive, the house you live in, and all of the luxuries you have. Again, it comes back to appreciation for what you have. America is a land of excess, and I understand it’s easy to become attached to “things.” Breaking free from materialism and consumerism helps you put God back in His rightful spot: the center of your life.