As we were approaching our annual Harvest Service and Thank Offering I’ve been reflecting on – and been challenged by – some teaching and advice on giving.
Many Christian charities and churches are struggling for resources, especially in the wake of COVID 19, but the situation has been tough for several years. According to recent figures:
- Giving to Christian charities and churches is stagnant or declining
- The average annual amount given per person is declining
- Fewer people are giving regularly
- 50% of Christian donors won’t fund evangelism because it’s ‘too Christian’
Although on the surface things seem bleak, we need to remember how blessed we are and how much God has given us. Most of us have enough resources, it’s just that – according to Archbishop John Sentamu – much of it is with those who have “pockets that are too deep and hands that are too short.” We need to fight against the consumerism that permeates our culture.
At this time of year, it’s important to remember that as Christians our giving is rooted in thanksgiving. God gave us the best gift of all – he gave us his son Jesus who died to reconcile us to the Father and give us eternal life. In response to this amazing gift we offer our whole lives to Him – and from this flows praise and thanksgiving to God, and a generosity that reflects the generosity of our Father God. In the words of the old hymn, ‘I surrender all’. Giving of our lives and our money is not a nice extra – it’s fundamental to our faith. There are 2,300 verses in the Bible about wealth and giving! What we do with our resources and our money is a reflection of what’s going on in our hearts and who’s in charge. It’s not ultimately about how much we give, but how much we have left.