We are generous!
Since joining the Global Connections team, I have been amazed at how generous many of you are. Each week individuals, organisations and businesses give financially to support our mission partners and our aid projects. Last year over three million dollars was donated by you and distributed around the world to enable God's work.
But why? Why are so many of you willing to give sacrificially to these causes?
I have just finished reading a short book called "The Giving Landscape: Who Drives Generosity and Why" by Barna. It attempts to answer questions about who gives, and why they give. According to Barna, practicing Christians responded in the following ways when asked why they choose to give (in order of priority):
- I give because of who I am
- I give because of the ministry asking
- I give because of why I am asked
- I give because of how I am asked
- I give because of the person asking
And while we don't have the same research for New Zealand, the World Giving Index places Kiwis in the top ten in the world for our volunteering, donating, and willingness to help a stranger.
Barna's research stands out on one point: The majority of practicing Christians say that true generosity is always a response to Christ’s love. Not surprisingly, Christians show generosity and give as a response to the love and generosity that has been shown to us by Christ.
Here are some reminders about generosity.
Generosity is about our heart
The Bible teaches us that giving to others is inseparably tied to loving others. Paul says, "If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing." (1 Corinthians 13:3). Our generosity is an expression of genuine love.
Generosity is more than money
The Bible gives plenty of examples that encourage material generosity towards others, but generosity can be expressed in many ways. Giving our time and skills are expressions of our generosity, in just that same was as our financial giving. In his final charge to Timothy, Paul says "Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share." (1 Timothy 6:18)
Generosity is a blessing
Paul as he spoke to the leaders at Ephesus said "... remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" (Acts 20:35). The Bible teaches us that when we give to others, we gain. As we give, we experience the blessing of giving.
Generosity is an expression of love
We are reminded that we know what love is by looking to the example of Christ. We are to show love to others, in the same way that Christ showed love to us. "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth." (1 John 3:16–18).
God loves us, so we can love others. God is generous to us, so we can be generous to others. The world knows the love of God, as we love each other.
Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for your sacrificial giving.
And for those of you that would like to give financially. Please consider making a gift to Global Connections in Mission (GCiM) to support our mission partners, or to GCAid to support our aid projects. See our web site for more details - www.gc3.org.nz/donate/