Four Reasons Why We May Not Be Giving
According to the Barna Research Group, 17 percent of American adults claim to tithe, but only 6 percent actually do. As someone who talks money with people, I can attest that my antidotal evidence through daily conversations have yielded similar ratios.
I have struggled to identify the reasoning behind the behavior. I believe that people care about those who are hurting and want to leave the world a little better for their children. However, wallets don’t match the hearts. I see four reasons why, in general, people fail to give in both a systematic and sacrificial way.
First: No money.
With the rising healthcare costs, credit cards, student loan debt, and grocery bills, it’s nearly impossible to give. Most people are just trying to survive. But can we take a moment and trust God here? Malachi 3:30 (NIV) proclaims, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” In other words, if nothing else is working, why not try? If you are struggling with money anyway, what do you have to lose?
Second: No trust.
Sometimes, I get a cynical response when I ask why giving isn’t a part of the family budget. “The hardworking man doesn’t like waste,” or, “I don’t want to pay for overhead and inflated salaries.” Let’s be real. Have you really dug into the details? I have worked with many charities, and most are frugal and good stewards of resources. Very rarely is there actual abuse. You can do your homework online (http://www.charitynavigator. org), but the best way to get to the legitimacy is to get involved and ask tough questions. Any honest charity would welcome those robust conversations.
Third: No choice.
If you live in a suburban upper middle class neighborhood, attend your youth sports games on the weekend, and catch a Sunday service, you rarely find hunger and hurt. I know, because that’s me. And, if you are like me, you want to help and may even have the financial capacity, but you don’t know where to go. It just isn’t obvious. This is where your church can help. But before you go to church, go down memory lane and identify a time in your life when someone made a difference for you. Start there. Start by paying forward the love someone provided. Now, head down to church and ask for a ministry that supports your cause.
Fourth: No social proof.
Generally, Christians like to keep the giving private. Unfortunately, this collective behavior hurts. We can talk about a golf handicap, slap an honor roll sticker on our car, and even brag about making it to the voting booth. But, we have a hard time posting about our giving. Let’s lighten up a little for the sake of encouragement. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, “Let your light shine before me that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.” If your motive is pure, let’s share the joy of giving.
The idea of giving and tithing is complex and emotional. For further reading on the subject, consider Randy Alcorn’s book Money Possessions and Eternity. The theology behind giving is a cerebral, intellectual, and a debatable journey. But, let’s not stop there. Let’s have a heart for the hurting and hungry that is followed by our wallet. We are reminded that we are the Body of Christ by Martin Luther when he said that we must not have a conversion just of the heart and mind but also a conversion of the purse.Darryl W Lyons, co-founder and CEO of PAX Financial Group. Author of Small Business Big Pressure: A Faith-based Approach to Guide the Ambitious Entrepreneur. firstname.lastname@example.org