Over and over when people talk about winning the lottery, they insist that they will give a lot of it to charity. But I think that how we deal with the smaller amounts of money that God gives us is a great indicator of what we would do with lots of it. If we’re not being generous now, what makes us think that when we hit the jackpot, our hearts would immediately change? Jesus said that our faithfulness with small things has an impact on whether we will be trusted with bigger things.
It seems that many of us think that generosity is something that can happen only once we have enough, that generosity comes out of excess.
Sadly most Americans are too in debt to have any excess once the bills are paid. The statistics on charitable giving by Americans are appalling when you consider our wealth as a nation, especially when you look at giving by Christians, which doesn’t exceed 3% on average.
As I look at missionaries waiting for funds to go on the field or non-profits struggling for funds to do good work or churches that are behind budget, I wonder, “Where are the people who are willing to be radically generous? Why are God’s people not giving more and more away?” Thankfully God showed me two this week who are doing just that.
A couple came to us this week and pledged the largest single gift to our new school, Hope Academy, that we have yet received. And what was amazing about their gift is that, while they most certainly earn more than me and Diane, they are not what our culture would consider “rich.” Yet they have strategically lived their lives in such a way as to have as much of their income free to be used by God for the Kingdom.
The husband said to me, “When I am sitting at my desk in the office, I want to know that my work matters. I want to know that even as I work for this company, I am working for the Kingdom of God. Giving generously enables me to have that perspective.”
Oh that more and more of us would have that heart! That we would see our talents and occupations and incomes as being means by which the Kingdom can grow and be furthered rather than means to satisfy our hearts’ desires. That Christians would choose smaller houses, older cars, later-model TV’s, simpler vacations in order that our abundant resources would be freed up for God’s work. Many Christians long to give more but their financial obligations (debt) prohibit them from doing so.
We need a revolution, a breaking free from our culture of consuming, and the only thing powerful enough to break that hold is a fresh vision of the Kingdom of God, a vision that is worth any and every sacrifice we can make.
How can we begin to reorder our lives practically to be radically generous? Stay tuned for the next post.