The average self-proclaimedly active Christian gives about 2% of their income to the church.
If all self-proclaimedly active Christians gave merely an average of 5%, there would be $133 billion more to do the work of the gospel.
As I read this on a friend’s Facebook page, I was flabbergasted. Doing just a little bit of online research confirmed these facts to be true. I also discovered that only 4% of our nation’s population gives at a rate of 10%. So if even half of all active Christians gave a tithe, there’d be almost $200 billion more to build the Kingdom of God. Each year.
According to the 2009 World Summit on Food Security, it would take $44 billion each year to eradicate world hunger.
Are you kidding me? We could solve the problem of world hunger and STILL have over $150 billion to build the Kingdom of God? And it only means giving 10% of our income?
Don’t get me wrong … tithing is hard. We’ve all got bills to pay. Prices are rising, income is falling, jobs are unstable, families are growing. For most of us, giving away 10% hurts. Giving away 10% means sacrificing something – something we would rather not live without.
Maybe it means we don’t have that monthly family night out. Or maybe it means we don’t go for our weekly coffee date. Sacrificing things that we really don’t need – but are really nice to have.
But sometimes giving 10% means we aren’t sure how we will pay our electric bill. Maybe giving 10% means we have to choose between making the car payment or paying rent.
That’s when tithing gets scary. Because we can recite that verse from Matthew all we want …
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you – you of little faith? ~Matthew 6:28-30
But it doesn’t make it any less scary.
I’ve never been a tither. Call me one of little faith – but I just never had the extra income to give. My expenses were always more than my income. I was one who might not be able to pay my electric bill if I gave 10%. So I held tight to my money – I followed a strict budget – and gave when I had extra … sporadically.
We went down to one income in our household last year. And our family grew. We no longer have just two people to care for – there are three of us now. And lots of hospital bills. And student loans. And car payments. But – for the first time in my life, I agreed to give 10% of our net income towards building the kingdom of God. I know, I know … technically a tithe is 10% of your gross income … but hey – we’re working on it.
It’s the first payment I make every month when I pay bills. And sometimes it’s scary when I look at the checkbook and am not sure how to pay all the bills that come in our mailbox. But somehow, it all works out.
I know that sounds trite … and if it didn’t happen to me every month, I wouldn’t believe it either.
Honestly – I can’t tell you what made me a giver. But I do know that it has changed the way we look at what we have. And knowing that the problem of world hunger could be solved if we all pitched in … well … that just makes me want to give even more.
How has giving changed your life?