Why are Christians not more generous?
Many of you have probably heard the quote the Jesus talked more about money than heaven and hell. I am not sure that is particularly helpful but I think the point intended is to remind us that the stewardship of our financial resources is both reflective and symbolic of our obedience.
1Tim. 6:17-19 is an exhortation to those of us with the means to give, “As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.” Giving generously is a matter of discipleship.
Through our giving, we participate in the ministry to which we give and we as givers are the ones who are blessed! Paul praises the Philippians because of their generosity in Phil. 4:14-17,”Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.” This verse has made it so much easier (note I did not say easy) to raise funds as a missionary!
Paul says as we sow generously, we will reap generously in 2 Cor 9:6 and following. Why then do Christians not give generously? Matt Bell in a blog post on Sound Mind Investing wrote a blog post today, “Why are we more generous?” He is reviewing the book Passing the Plate and quotes the author as saying that 77% of Protestants who regularly attend church give less than 10% Why is that? Here are four reasons Christians are not generous with their giving from Passing the Plate that Bells cites. I place them here with my own words describing what these reasons mean
- Objective resource constraints—we lack the means to give generously
- Subjective resource constraints—we think we lack the means to give generously (need to save more, build up our retirement, pay off debt etc.).
- Unperceived Needs—we are unaware of legitimate needs.
- Normative ignorance—we do not understand that giving generously is a key element in our life with God.
Next Monday, I will redo a post on how generosity is an antidote to envy.