Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure-pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.
'Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,' says the Lord of hosts, 'if I will not open for you the windows of Heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.'
'If friendship with the world is enmity with God' (James 4:4), then the U.S. is doing something right. Depending on who you're asking, the majority of the world hates us.
However, no one can dispute that the United States is a nation of givers: 'The U.S. tops the world in charitable giving' (BBC report*).
'American generosity has always been robust, particularly at the individual level. In 2010, for example, the collective giving abroad of American foundations, corporations, private and voluntary organizations, individual volunteers, religious organizations, and universities and colleges reached $39 billion. That total exceeded the U.S. government's foreign aid for that year by almost $9 billion' (DipNote*).
But are we giving to God? Barna reveals that the national tithing rate has dropped to the lowest level in 10 years. By his estimation, approximately 4% of Americans practice tithing. 'That's a 40 percent decline' (Barna report*).
Does that mean only 4% of our nation's Christians believe the Bible is true? God forbid. I prefer to believe that 96% of us remain babies in our faith--because we haven't learned to read.
But if we don't grow up individually and collectively, we harm ourselves. We help few others. Babies can't work in the field. Jesus says, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few' (Matthew 9:37).
We weaken our churches. I have seen good pastors 'begging' their congregations for the money to continue. How far can they go without fuel? How long can they thrive without eating? God says, 'Do not muzzle an ox when it is treading the grain' (Deuteronomy 25:4).
Shall we ignore our own churches like beggars at our gates? Three things are certain: 1) God doesn't need our money. 2) He watches our giving carefully. 3) He rewards our tithing faithfully.
To Be Continued...
'U.S. tops the world in Charitable Giving' (BBC report)... http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16260782
DipNote is the official blog of the U.S.Department of State. http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/site/entry/global_philanthropy_harnessing_generosity_giving_tuesday
World Giving Index: http://www.cafonline.org/pdf/World_Giving_Index_2011_191211.pdf/
Barna report on tithing: http://www.tithing.com/blog/tithing-declines-barna-study/
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the The Beggar At Your Gates series.