Each year during February or March, we have a special stewardship emphasis at Lancaster Baptist Church. It is during this time we consider God’s goodness to us and how we may honor and worship Him through our giving.
I can still recall how Terrie and I began tithing as a young married couple. Over the years, it has been a joy to grow in the grace of giving and to honor the Lord through our giving as a family. Beyond that, it is a thrill to pastor a people with hearts to give and to further the cause of Jesus Christ.
In writing to the Philippian church, the Apostle Paul said, “Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only” (Philippians 4:16). God blesses giving people and giving churches with abundant joy!
In his book Who Really Cares, Arthur C. Brooks recently described the effects of our faith upon our charitable giving. In the book he says, “Here is a curious fact: Families in San Francisco give almost exactly the same amount to charities each year as families in South Dakota – about $1,300. This may seem counterintuitive, because, in every other respect, the two communities – 1,500 miles apart – could not be more different. South Dakota spreads the same population as San Francisco County’s area over an area 1,615 times larger. A South Dakotan is half as likely to hold a college degree as a San Franciscan.”
“The $1,300 to charity represents a significance, as well, because the average San Francisco family enjoys 78% more personal income than a family in South Dakota. For a family making $45,364 [the South Dakota state average], $1,300 represents a much larger sacrifice than for one making $80,822 [the San Francisco County average]. So the real difference in giving between the two communities is this: the average South Dakotan family gives away 75% more of its household income each year than the average family in San Francisco.”
When Mr. Brooks asked an executive at the South Dakota Community Foundation why South Dakotans donated so much of their incomes to charity, her response was immediate: religion. “We are all taught to tithe here.”
Mr. Brooks’ book Who Really Cares definitively proves that in places where faith abounds across America, giving also abounds. I have always felt the more passionate our faith is, the more consistent our giving will be.
Ministry takes place when divine resources flow through yielded vessels to the glory of God. May ministry be strong in your life and mine because of our yieldedness to Him in the days ahead!