Generosity: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Socrates said the “unexamined life is not worth living.” If examination makes life worthwhile, accountants are happy people.

This week, our external auditors are scrutinizing Food for the Hungry’s (FH) financial accounts.

They go over every detail of our records ensuring that we properly recorded the year’s transactions.

As our fiscal year ended in September, we’re reviewing our past financial decisions, assessing our stewardship. We’re looking forward at the coming year to create efficient and effective plans for funds.

I do that personally, too.

A Plan for Generosity

Coming to the end of the calendar year, I total up my charitable receipts and measure my giving against the standard of a tithe.

I know, tithing sounds legalistic. But as a Christian, I know the full measure of how blessed I am. I want to show appreciation.

I know that some readers will be aghast to find out that I haven’t always given the first portion of my income each month. But I slip sometimes.

So, at this time of year, my wife and I figure out where our tithe will go, and how much more we might commit beyond that.

It’s at times like these that we discuss causes or projects that we would like advanced. Over the years, we’ve given money to all kinds of projects.

Finding a Promising Project

A place to find projects to fund is the FH Christmas Gift Catalog.  It lists gifts, like animals in the developing world that make a real difference to a rural farm family.

The catalog projects are suited to illustrate generosity to your children. They’re tangible. Educational. Easy for children to understand.

When my children were in their middle years, I always let them put our tithe check in the church offering. I wanted them to see me give away something. And the checks had enough digits to pop the eyes of kids that age.

But supporting my church or my favorite charity isn’t just an educational exercise.

I—and you—give to honor God.

From that flows the good feeling that happens when we’re generous.

It’s a good feeling when I take stock of my finances at year end. I like looking back on my family’s past stewardship and looking forward to complete the year.

For FH, when our auditor reviews and approves our organizational stewardship, I’m proud of Food for the Hungry and our work.

I challenge you to take a look back and look forward to consider how you can be generous to others in need.

About Barry Gardner

Barry Gardner is the Chief Financial Officer at FH. He joined FH in 2010 after a 20 year career as a financial consultant to non-profit organizations. He and his wife Susan live in Phoenix, where Barry enjoys year-round cycling weather.

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