We are coming to the end of our 6 week series on what Jesus taught about money. We’ve done this because the financial climate right now is chaotic with inflation, stock market declines, real estate instability, gas prices skyrocketing, and now it seems like a lot of companies are laying people off. This is a critical time for us to stay grounded in God’s Word as we go through fiscally uncertain times.
I’ve learned a lot over the last 6 weeks, which have been very helpful for me personally. We’ve looked at Matthew 6, storing our treasures up in heaven, trusting God to provide for us and not worrying so much about the stuff down here, then 3 parables in Luke: rich fool, shrewd manager, and the parable of the minas- which reinforce and expound upon Jesus’ teaching in the sermon on the mount that we studied the first 2 weeks. This weekend, we continue chronologically from last week, fast forwarding a week, to Wednesday of Passion week- the day before the last supper. We’ll look at a very special real life case study that Jesus uses as an object lesson for His disciples that we can learn from today.
A few months ago, George Barna produced a 3-part report called the state of generosity series. This is a very important series because the landscape around church and giving has completely changed in the last 2 years. Churches all around the nation and world have been dramatically impacted by the increasing division and digitization (if that’s a word) in the Church and secularization of our nation. We all know it has been pretty tough out there spiritually, and these reports help illustrate how the American Church has been impacted financially. Here are a few key findings…
Practicing Christians: Self-identified Christians who attend a worship service at least once a month and say their faith is very important in their life. Describes most of us at CCC. 78% of us give at least something to church. 55% give regularly. 42% tithe. Though 40% of practicing Christians didn’t know what tithing was. If that’s you, then you’ll know in just a few minutes. This is why it is so important to understand scripture! 22% of active Christians, don’t give anything.
The survey showed that the average practicing Christian gave $2,041 annual to churches. Average income last year was $51,480. If we do the math, we see that of the 2,000 respondents to the survey, the average giving was about 4%. We also have to add a big asterisk here, because studies have shown that we tend to overstate our giving by over 4x on these surveys. We don’t want to admit reality to ourselves or anyone else regarding our actual giving proportions. The study said that 92% of us feel that we are being generous. How do you think God feels about this? Is 4% generous?
What if Jesus were physically watching over our shoulder as we gave. What would He say about us? Would we still give at 4%? What does Jesus think about your giving and mine? Interestingly enough, we actually have an example of this from where Jesus was camped out at the Temple, watching people giving.
This weekend we’ll look at Mark 12:41-44, where Jesus was watching people as they gave, and then he gave some great commentary on what we can learn from them today. I invite you to join with us for our Sunday morning service at 10:15, either in-person or online. We also have excellent Sunday School classes at 9 for all ages.
Have a great weekend and I look forward to pursuing Christ, Community, and the Great Commission Together with you soon!