Black Friday is a good day to talk about a dark topic – the generosity of American Christians.
You might not want to stand in line for hours at the big box store after reading this Interruption. If today’s topic makes you miserable, then send it to all your friends and make them miserable too.
They may as well feel your pain.
The Barna Organization recently published online three large documents on the state of generosity in the American church.
I read through the reports.
I’m interested in the financial giving of the church for personal reasons (my salary) and for Kingdom purposes (little can be done for the Great Commission if believers don’t give). I did notice relevant facts – 99 percent of all pastors have heard of tithing, while 22 percent of attendees of practicing faith churches do not understand the term.
Pastors, please fire up some tithes, offerings, and generosity sermons.
The Barna reports conclude on an encouraging note …
Christians, on the whole, are exceptional givers. It is, of course, true that Christians are to give because it is the right thing to do, because they are called to meet needs, because people accomplish more together than separately, because it develops spiritual character … but, ultimately, Christians give in response to the immense riches they believe they have been given, through others and from God. The gospel message is about the most generous, the most sacrificial, the most undeserved, and the most impactful gift ever offered.
Amen and kudos to followers of Jesus who have learned generosity with their finances.
Some more statistics from Barna …
- The average yearly giving of all adults in America is $916 a year, while practicing Christians give three times that amount with an average of about $3,000.
- Those who make over $300,000 a year (whether Christian or not) give an average of $41,290 a year.
- Practicing Christians who are in fellowship with other practicing believers are more generous … in fact, the most generous segment of the American population are believers who regularly associate with other believers.
- Just over 21 percent of Christians tithe.
- Those who give live more virtuous lives and are more spiritually mature.
The Barna reports make the correlation of generosity with better health, happy relationships, and positive attitudes.
As Jesus said …
Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again (Luke 6:38, KJV).
The Barna news isn’t too bad for practicing believers.
No reason to feel gloomy after eating too much turkey on Thanksgiving, spending too much money on Black Friday, and spending hours on the internet during Cyber Monday.
Your penance for holiday indulgence is a New Year’s resolution to become even more generous.