November is here and we’re right beyond the threshold and into the holidays! This is the season where we are encouraged to look up to the Father and look out for our fellow men. It is meant to be a season of great gratitude and generous giving as we close out another year under God’s grace.
Recently, I ran across a picture that was meant to be humorous on a brother’s Facebook post. The image was of an a-frame, sidewalk sign that read: “If money is the root of all evil, why do they ask for it at church?” As I read the comments, many offered the correct rendering of 1 Timothy 6:10 that the question referenced: “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. …” However, there were more that simply affirmed the question and lampooned church.
As far as we are able, it is important to discern if the recipients of our offerings are integrous. And normally, I would shake my head and simply keep scrolling. But this time my heart was just unusually grieved. I hate that there are ministries and churches that have helped earn such a pitiful reputation of greed. More still, I hate that so many are convinced that by not giving they are making some profound point. Still more, I hate the name of Jesus is maligned and His work hindered. So, perhaps flinging pearls into the swine pen, I responded. And I now share that post here:
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
(2 Corinthians 9:6-8)
We can give to the Lord and His work whatever we decide in our hearts to give. We are free to give nothing. The majority of people do give little or nothing. Studies reveal year after year that the average American (secular and Christians combined) only gives 2-3% of their annual income to any charities whatsoever.
If a person or organization manipulates you into giving anything, I would absolutely encourage not supporting that manipulation. But please do not be deceived into thinking that just because someone or some organization is greedy that not giving generously, not supporting Gospel work especially, is some noble act of righteousness. On the contrary:
I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing.
Righteous (read forgiven) people trust God to meet their needs which frees them to be generous. Generosity is a characteristic of the genuinely righteousness. To give generously like God gives is a standing evidence for individual believers and Christian organizations alike. Rich or poor, small or great, we will all give a full accounting of our stewardships on the Day of Judgment. None of us will be able to point to the greed of others to justify any of our own.
Then He said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” And He told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’
“Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”