Research into the effect of our wealth has begun to show that it can actually make us less generous, less compassionate, less ethical, and more entitled. Suddenly, being the wealthiest country in the world is not as attractive to people who follow the One who said in Luke 6:24, “Woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort”.
Being wealthy puts each of us in danger of believing we can lead a life independent of God, unconcerned about the needs of others.
The church has always tried to protect us from this danger, with disciplines like Communion – celebrating the generous love of God in Christ – and the acceptance of a weekly offering of money to support the work of God’s kingdom. But you can also put other habits into place to liberate you from a lifestyle of spending your time, money, and energy solely upon yourself.
Regular generosity towards the poor and vulnerable, is a great way of countering the effects of a culture – our culture – which is calling you to care for yourself before others. Sponsoring a child, for example, is a simple and effective way of giving regularly in support of those in great need.
Giving to overseas development work through accredited, specialist organisations like Baptist World Aid, really works. In 1990, 35% of the world lived in extreme poverty. Today that figure has dropped to only 10% – we’re making progress! Community groups are saving together, growing together, and advocating for themselves. More children are being vaccinated, surviving, and getting an education, thanks to quality development assistance made possible by generous people like you.
But it also helps to be intentional about your generosity. In order to make sure we do not become addicted to consumption, my husband and I carefully plan where to give our money away. We make it an easy part of our life by setting up direct debits. I encourage you to do your research and do the same!
But the best way to ensure you regularly practise active generosity, is to be inspired by the vision of a world without poverty and despair, where all people flourish in peace… and then determine to be part of the kingdom of God that is bringing it into reality. Keep praying that God will use you. Ask Him to move your heart and to direct your finances – so His will is done. Before all else.