As world-renowned Pastor Andy Stanley said in one of his recent sermon series, we all know how to give. Christians all over the country know how to give because giving is easy. With enough of a guilt-trip or sob story, we’ll give to just about anything. Being generous, on the other hand, is far from easy. Generosity is not flaky and sporadic like most of our giving ends up being; it’s planned, purposed, and prioritized. Maybe we understand why generosity needs to be planned and why it needs to be purposed, but why does it need to be prioritized?
The scriptures point to prioritized generosity quite often. Some of those verses are listed below:
1 Corinthians 16:2 – On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made. (NIV)
Proverbs 3:9 – Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; (ESV)
As we can see, prioritized generosity is a great ideal to shoot for because it honors the Lord. In addition to that, prioritized generosity honors those who need it most—which in turn, honors the Lord too.
Unfortunately, that does not describe where we are as a Christian people right now. Over the past 40 years, self-identified evangelicals have been giving between 2 and 3 percent of their incomes to churches and parachurch organizations. If we want the name of Jesus to be shared with as many people as possible, our current financial habits do not indicate this enthusiasm.
How do we fix this? Well, we go back to what we learned earlier. We must prioritize our giving so that we can become generous people. If not, we will continue to wander around giving here and there at random for the rest of our lives. God did not give his only begotten Son so we could be wanderers. He wants us to be leaders. And if we aren’t doing that yet, we need to start—before it’s too late.