Some people say, “When I earn more I’ll be able to give more.” That may be true in some instances, but individuals in the U.S. who make more money do not necessarily give more donations. It was recently reported that Ohio is ranked 35th in median household income in the U.S., but ranked 8th nationwide in charitable giving. Some who are earning more are giving less. Henry Ward Beecher once cautioned, “Watch lest prosperity destroy generosity.”
We know that some of the most generous people in the world are those who have the least to give. One day Jesus saw a widow give two small copper coins to the temple treasury, and observed, “‘This poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’” (Luke 21:3-4)
John Maxwell says, “People give not from the top of their purses, but from the bottom of their hearts. If you desire to become a more generous person, don’t wait for your income to change. Change your heart.” But how does a heart change? I’ve seen the hearts of people change when they volunteer time to help people. Each week I have the privilege of seeing people serve students who need help with their reading. Our Whiz Kids program meets after school on Thursdays, working with twelve children. The people who work with these kids are amazing!
A few times each year I witness volunteers who serve at Matthew 25 Ministries. What a difference it makes when we seen the value of donated items helping people who have little to eat and little to wear. It’s so rewarding to see people have a role in that incredible ministry!
Annually I have the privilege of serving at Vacation Bible School and Church Camp. Volunteers come together to sing, teach, do crafts, and play games with kids they had never before met. By the end of a week everyone is so blessed because of the relationships that have formed.
Jesus said, “‘Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:40) Seeing Jesus in the lives of the people we serve makes all the difference in how we feel about giving. It changes our hearts. But it doesn’t begin with us. God gave first.
When we think of generosity, our perspective should be guided by the generosity of God. “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) God showed us how to be generous. With our time, talent and treasures, let’s be generous too!
Pastor Ken Atchison
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com