This article was written by state missionary Rob Jackson.
In 2022, charitable giving in the United States experienced a decline, marking only the fourth instance in four decades where donations did not increase year over year, as reported by Giving USA. When adjusted for inflation, the drop amounts to 10.5%. As leaders, it is our responsibility to foster a culture of generosity and encourage giving to benefit both individuals and communities. To enhance our understanding of charitable giving, we can draw insights from the book The Gift of Giving by Wayne Watts, which presents several fundamental principles:
1. Recognizing God’s Ownership:
As Christians, we understand that everything ultimately belongs to God, and we are entrusted with being stewards of His resources.
2. Proportional Giving:
A foundational principle is to give proportionately to the blessings we have received from God, regardless of our income. Setting a starting point of ten percent can serve as a helpful guide.
3. Giving as Worship:
God is not primarily concerned with the size of our gifts but with the sincerity and love behind them. Giving should be an act of worship, reflecting our gratitude and trust in God’s provision.
4. Overcoming the Love of Money:
The desire for wealth can undermine our faith and well-being. Instead of hoarding money for personal gain, we should recognize that the local church is a conduit for blessing others rather than a mere storehouse.
5. Trusting in God’s Provision:
Giving is grounded in the understanding that God is the ultimate source of all our needs. By relying on Him, we can experience the abundant blessings He has promised to supply.
6. Cultivating a Lifestyle of Giving:
Generosity should be an integral part of our spiritual growth and maturity. We should strive to develop a gracious and giving disposition, recognizing that our journey with Christ is continuous progress.
7. Giving from Poverty:
Even when facing financial challenges, we can still participate in giving. The churches in Macedonia serve as an example of how deep poverty can overflow in joyful generosity, as they gave to God in faith (See 2 Corinthians 8:2).
8. Giving for God’s Glory:
When we give to help others in need, we are glorifying God. Our generosity not only meets practical needs but also serves as a testimony to the presence and goodness of God, inspiring others to praise Him.
By embracing these principles and nurturing a culture of generosity, we can strengthen our commitment to giving to God through the local body of Christ. In turn, this giving makes a positive impact on the lives of others, honoring God with our resources and embodying His love.