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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Give It Up!

I read recently that some Christian ministries have laid off employees because donations have fallen. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was tagged as one of those ministries. I wonder what has caused this trend. Perhaps the economy has decreased donors’ ability to give as generously or as frequently as they did in the past. Possibly the modern generation of Christians may not perceive a ministry’s function as relevant. Evangelism and missions don’t seem to be high-priority values any longer in these make-me-feel-good-about-me times. Perhaps the decline in giving is due to a shift from a willingness to live modestly in order to be able to practice dedicated stewardship. Couples that bury themselves in debt in order to capture the so-called good life may not be able to give in accordance with Jesus’ teaching about the best life. He cautioned, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” He instructed (Matthew 6:20).

When an offering for missions was under way in a church, a scowling member of the congregation refused to put any money in the offering plate. “I don’t believe in missions,” he growled at the usher.

“Then take something out,” the usher responded, “it’s for the heathen.”

“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver: (2 Corinthians 9:7).

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