If we claim to be Christians and are stingy, we need to look in the mirror and ask if we really are Christians. Have we been changed by God’s generosity? Do we really believe the first reason: that generosity is a grace, an opportunity, given to us by our Savior?
No one argues that miserliness is an admirable character trait. The national convention of Ebeneezer Scrooge urging Americans to be less generous doesn’t exist.
Many perceive one of America’s strongest virtues to be generosity. There is some evidence for this. News reports gushed that over $471 billion was given to charity in 2020, the highest recorded number on record in U.S. history. That’s a huge amount of money. But that number represents a mere 2% of the US’s GDP, which stood at $20.94 trillion in 2020.
2% hardly seems a number to hang on our wall. What about Christians? Unfortunately, we do little better, giving approximately 3% of our income to charity. And fewer than 5% of Christians tithe.[ii] Generosity isn’t graded on a curve.
Most disappointingly is the self-deception of Christians. 17% of Christians report tithing despite the actual number of 5%. Worse still, 10% of those who claimed they tithe actually gave less than $200 to charity.[iii]
The Second Reason to Give
Paul would have something to say about this. In this series, we are exploring the reasons Paul says that we should be generous. The first reason was that giving is a grace; it is a gift offered to us by God.
Paul’s second reason is found in 2 Corinthians 8:8, Paul urges, “I say this [that you ought to participate in the grace of giving] not as a command, but to prove by the earnestness of others that your love also is genuine.”
Paul’s second reason for giving is that our giving proves that we love Jesus.
That ought to catch our attention. The ledger of my giving is the proof of my love of Christ?