Generosity is sometimes ignored in the steps to financial health. How would giving away money with no return gain you anything? Or some believe it is an option once you have become wealthy, but not until then.

The Bible is clear that generosity is important for Christians. There are dozens of pleas to share your wealth with those who are less fortunate. Luke 6:38 says “Give, and it will be given to you,” Proverbs 22:9 says “He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor” and Deuteronomy 16:17 says “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord” (NASB). There are many other references to generosity in a number of different contexts, but the Bible clearly encourages you to be generous.

At the heart of generosity is selflessness, a principle threaded through the Bible from “In the beginning” to “Amen.” In addition to this obvious Biblical and moral reason to give, though, there are some reasons being generous with your money is actually a wise financial choice.

It builds relationships

Relationships are the framework on which your financial future is established. Your biggest creator of income–your career–was likely obtained and developed through a network of relationships. Your financial opinions and decisions are guided by those who surround you. Your friends are where you turn when the money accumulates and when it diminishes.

Generosity has more to do with your relationships than you think. It creates and deepens relationships. You may help someone out of a precarious situation, donate to someone’s goal or simply buy them a birthday gift. All of these normally strengthen relationships.

An example of your generosity creating relationships is when you give tithe to your local church. There is no mandate you give tithe in order to attend church, but your tithe helps fund the church’s services, events and activities. These are, for many regular churchgoers, one of their primary networking resources.

It improves your financial judgment

Charity is both a gift (something given without any payment expected in return) and an investment (something–such as money–put to use to offer potential profitable returns). We should not expect any return when we are generous with money. You do not typically see a return from your gift in your bank account or wallet, nor should you.

When you hand over your money to an organization, business or individual, though, you make an investment in their success. You give money to your local church, which is an investment in it running smoothly so you and your church family can continue to worship there. You give away money to a particular cause, which is an investment in that cause’s success; you are saying you believe the world is a better place if the cause succeeds. You give to help a friend, which is an investment in the success of that friend.

You improve your investing acumen each time you give away money and watch the results. This knowledge is directly transferrable to your portfolio investments, your business investments or how you invest your skills and time. You learn what succeeds, what does not and what you believe is worth putting your money toward.

Our primary reason for generosity should not be financial gain, although it may be a result. Generosity does much more for us than help our earning potential or investments. It improves our satisfaction, widens our worldview, develops our awareness and increases our compassion for others.

Christ praised the widow who gave only two small coins to the treasury because she gave what she had (Luke 21:1-4). Others may have mocked her for the size of her gift, but they ignored the size of her generosity. Giving does something unnatural to a human. It causes us to surrender, trust and have faith. When we give money away, we no longer retain control of it. We surrender our money, trust the cause it has been given to and have faith it will be put to good use.