We value uncluttered lives which free us to love boldly, give generously, and serve joyfully.
By every global measurement, contemporary or historical, North Americans are among the richest people who have ever lived. Yet an overriding sense of scarcity, a perception that there is simply not enough of almost anything—natural resources, food, good jobs, education, health care, and wealth—persists among people of faith. Add in the recent shake-ups within the U.S. economic markets, and it can be tough to maintain an optimistic outlook.
The tides of life, the influences from surrounding culture, and economic pressures are all strong. They can combine and pull even the most determined Christ-followers away from the sure ground of confidence in divine sufficiency. Churches have long been the seedbeds for growing generous hearts, but giving by persons of faith today in both the U.S. and Canada is a far cry from what it once was. When it comes to our relationship to money, Christians are acting more and more like the rest of culture: We are just as likely to be plagued by greed and stressed over finances as our non-believing neighbors.
Jesus taught about a God who wishes for humans “to have life and have it more abundantly” (John 10:10)—a desire that extends to the experience of God’s people as a whole as well as to the lives of individuals. In the words of my favorite holiness writer, Hannah Whitall Smith, “The greatest lesson a soul has to learn is that God, and God alone, is enough for all its needs. This is the lesson that all God’s dealings with us are meant to teach, and this is the crowning discovery of our entire Christian life. God is enough!”
This is not to suggest a Pollyannaish view of the world. As the daily news reminds us, tragic situations abound. Natural disasters, war, poverty, and unjust governments make life harsh for many of the world’s citizens. But knowing this should compel us to trust all the more in the abundance of God’s resources and grace. If we truly believe that God is enough, we will generously and unreservedly give to others in response to all He’s given to us.
—excerpted from Growing Givers’ Hearts: Treating Fundraising as Ministry (Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2000)