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04 Jun '13

As we earn more do we start to need more and actually give less?

Posted by T.J. Addington
There is an irony in the statistics of Christian giving. The more one has or makes, the smaller the percentage they often give. Those with lower incomes give a higher percentage of their wealth to Christ than those who have higher incomes.

It makes me wonder if the more we make the more we think we need and therefore protect our wealth. In other words, the thresh hold of need rises as our income rises along with a perceived need to protect that wealth. 

The result is that in general, those who have the most give a lesser percentage than those who have less. Is it possible that God's generosity to us often creates a greater dependency on material things because our attention becomes increasingly focused on wealth as security rather than on Jesus and a life of faith?

Becoming more conservative in our generosity to God as wealth increases is at odds with the Scriptural principle of being generous with God in proportion to how He has and does bless us. Consider 2 Corinthians 9:6-9. "Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."

The irony is that God's blessing - which He freely gives to us - can cause us to be less generous back to the One who gave us the blessing. It was the caution God gave the Israelites in Deuteronomy 7. The more we depend on our wealth for security the less we live by faith. 

I love Paul's words to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Command those who are rich in this present world...to do good, to be rich in good deeds and to be generous and willing to share."

 He does not say to give it all away. He simply encourages generosity and an open hand. God's generosity to us is a model of what our generosity to Him should be.

One last thing: Most of us don't consider ourselves as wealthy. We see wealth as relative to those who have more than us. But, if our combined family income is $100,000 or more annually we are in the top one half of one percent of wealthy globally. That helps put it in perspective for all of us. Fifty four percent of our world lives on $3.00 per day or less and 91% of our world lives on $10,000 per year or less.