Friday, January 16, 2009

Some thoughts on giving and reaching the world

I just finished "Don't Waste Your Life" by John Piper (see sidebar for link). He shared some interesting thoughts related to giving and reaching the world with the message of Jesus.

Piper talked a lot about giving, which is of course something I'm passionate about. Here's a good quote from a Scottish Pastor, from 1843.
"I am concerned for the poor but more for you. I know not what Christ will say to you in the great day... I fear there are many hearing me who may know well that they are not Christians, because they do not love to give. To give largely and liberally, not grudging at all, requires a new heart; an old heart would rather part with its life-blood than its money. Oh my friends! Enjoy your money; make the most of it; give none away; enjoy it quickly for I can tell you, you will be beggars throughout eternity."


And here's another qoute from the book:

"In 1916, Protestants were giving 2.9% of their incomes to their churches. In 1933, the depth of the Great Depression, it was 3.2%. In 1955, just after affluence began spreading through our culture, it was still 3.2%. By 2000, when Americans were over 450% richer, after taxes and inflation, than in the Great Depression, Protestants were giving 2.6% of their incomes to their churches. If members of historically Christian churches in the US were giving an average of 10% in 2000, there would have been an additional $139 billion a year going through church channels."

It's not about the percentage but the sacrifice. The percentage however, does give an accurate picture of the sacrifice. It's as clear as anything in scripture - followers of Jesus give; they give a LOT, they give until it HURTS. It's true that someone can be a generous giver while not necessarily being a Christ-follower. Jesus is very clear however, if a person isn't a giver, they aren't citizens of his Kingdom. If we're following Jesus, we'll allow him to rearragne our priorities so we become givers.

The need to support overseas work is part of what I love about being in the Church of the Nazarene. Our collection of churches, called a denomination is very effective in our overseas mission work. We're among, if not the best of all Protestant denominations.

If you support the financial element of our Growing Up Campaign, you'll be supporting the mission work of some good friends of mine, Scott and Emily Armstrong.

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