Our Approach to Giving is Broken & Why the Cross Must Be the Central Focus

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Mark_Smith's picture

Another reason I thought of reading this article. I myself have run into this at one time or another, and I know of many others. Quite frankly, America as a whole is a very expensive place to live in. Much more than it was in the past. Perhaps you made some poor choices financially (like borrowed too much to get a college degree...not just that you bought too much car or too many Playstation games), or you lost a job, or perhaps your hours were cut at work, or you haven't received a pay raise in 5 years though every bill has continued to increase, or you thought you would have one child and TWINS came (more than double the cost I can testify to), or the furnace broke down in winter, or the AC died in summer, or one of a thousand things.


So, you desire to give, but the truth is your money just barely makes it through the month or perhaps there is more month than money. You already work 40+ hours a week, a raise is out of the question, your insurance just increased and the kid has a cavity...there goes another $200!!!


Now you can read Jim' financial blogs all you want, and maybe you want to do it, but the fact is you CAN'T save all of that money every month for an emergency fund because you simply don't have it.

How about we give people a little mercy? It really is rough out there for Generation X.

Chip Van Emmerik's picture

Two issues Mark. First, we don't get a pass anywhere in scripture because we made bad decisions and are now suffering the consequences. Second, we really can make it if we choose to. While cost of living has certainly increased to the point that America expects families to have two incomes, living the kind of lifestyle Jim describes is still desirable and attainable. I'm the person you described - to some degree. Single income family with three children in the home. Public school teacher in a district where salaries have been frozen for 7 years. The real issue is making decisions about what you "must" have and what you can actually do without. Vacations for us are in-state trips for a couple of days, sometimes only every couple of years. I drive an 01 Chevy and my wife drives a 96 Nissan. My point is that it can be done by almost everyone, and it is certainly the practice of biblical wisdom to do so. 

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

Mark_Smith's picture

A few thoughts:

First, did you read the linked article?

Second, where did I say to give people a pass? I said to show mercy...

Third, the article talks about why people don't give. At first he thought it was because people didn't know how to manage money. So he and others taught that...but he is not seeing much fruit. So, he now believes the problem is theological, that people don't know who God is and what He has done for them so they don't honor Him with their money.

OK, I grant that there are somewhere all kinds of middle/upper middle class people who buy Sea-Dos and BMWs instead of giving to the church. I'm sure they are somewhere but they aren't at my church. My church is full of people who BARELY MAKE IT every month. Most months they buy groceries with the credit card...and not out of convenience. Have these people made financial mistakes? Most certainly. Are they still? Yes. Are they lazy non-god fearing bums who don't love God? That is a heavy charge. (Chip not saying you said that but the article implies to not give enough means you don't love or understand God) For the people I know the last 5-6 years have been very rough. Lost jobs, no pay raises, increasing expenses, medical expenses, etc...To be honest, most of them simply don't have 10% of their income to give.


As for the Macedonian Christians, back "in the day" you could essentially live without money. Increasingly in the modern age this is not the case and most people are being asked to live on less and less disposable income. For many, despite a desire to give, there just isn't any money to give.

Rob Fall's picture

do you tithe on after multi-years of crop failure and the Edomites raiding your flocks and herds,

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Jim's picture

I don't think we should make giving "the test" of Christian commitment or maturity

Some (Mark mentioned this) really struggle with finances.

We should be  patient with them.