The Last Blog I’m Giving on Giving

Giving advice is all around us. Some good.  Some bad.  Some terrible.  Consider: “The Lord loveth a cheerful giver. He also accepteth gifts from a grouch.”  --Catherine Hall “You should give according to your income, lest God make your income according to your giving.” --unknown “Blessed are those who can give without remembering, and take without forgetting.” --Elizabeth Bibesco “Do yer givin’ while you’re livin’, so you’ll be knowing’ where its goin’.” --unknown “There is no grace in a gift that sticks to the fingers.” --Seneca “You’ll never be as lazy as the guy who named the fireplace.” –unknown Okay, the last quote wasn’t about giving, but I found it encouraging.  And when you talk about giving, you want to be encouraging.  Today, I want to encourage you by answering the question, “What does giving do for us?”  As it turns out, it does all sorts of things. First, giving,

The Generosity Principle

Recent studies on giving have not been encouraging.  In any given year, 22.1% of all Christians choose not to give (either to a church or a charity).  In fact, only 9.4% of us give away a tenth or more of our income each year (whether that be to a church, a ministry or to a secular charity).  That means the vast majority of us (a whopping 68%) in any given year give between .1 and 9.9% of our income.  What would you guess the actual number is?  Sadly, according to numerous surveys, most of us in this last category give somewhere around 2-3% (another study suggests that churched people give no more than 1.4% of their income to support all three of their top interests: their church, ministries they value and their favorite secular charities). Now, these results come from national surveys taken of people who have some affiliation to

The Loose Ends

Author Lance Morrow wisely noted that “a rattlesnake loose in the living room tends to end all discussion of animal rights."  Loose ends, like loose snakes, can’t be a good thing and should be quickly dealt with (when you know you can’t end a sentence with a preposition, but have no other way to say it, well, that’s why God created the parenthetical remark).  So today, we round up a few “loose ends” on tithing and giving as we start to bring this series on giving to an end.  And to do that, let’s look at one of the premiere passages on tithing in the Old Testament, Malachi 3:7-12.  The text reads: “Return to me, and I will return to you,” says the Lord Almighty. “But you ask, ‘How are we to return?’ Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are

What Your Mother Didn’t Tell You about Tithing

Just to be safe (I mean, “clear”), I personally have nothing against the IRS (if any IRS agents are reading this, I’ve always said the IRS is like the FBI, except way cooler).  But lots and lots of people feel the tax code is unwieldy, unjust and oppressive and that the IRS and the mob have lots of things in common; it’s just that one is legal thievery and the other not so much (not me, mind you, I would never say something like that. I love paying my taxes, and I loved The Sopranos!).  Plus, people feel our taxes are just way too complicated and expensive.  It’s not like it was back then. Back in the good old days, Israel had a tax system that was simple.  It was called tithing, and it required that 10% off the top was given to care for the needs of the Levitical

All We Are Saying, Is Give Paul a Chance

All We Are Saying, Is Give Paul a Chance People say things all the time.  Sometimes they are right on the money and sometimes not so much.  Consider these predictions that didn’t quite turn out the way the speaker thought. "Who the heck wants to hear actors talk?" --  M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927. "Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." -- Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre. "Ours has been the first and doubtless to be the last, to visit this profitless locality." --  Joseph Ives, after visiting the Grand Canyon in 1861. “What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives traveling twice as fast as stagecoaches?” -- The Quarterly Review, March, 1825. Sometimes the past has something to say to us and sometimes it doesn’t.  In this post and in our next one in the “giving series,” we