We live in a strange time. Many of us have not been to church in months. We have not been out to eat and we have hardly seen anyone. What has this done to our generosity?
My sons both worked at restaurants at one time or another and they have the same stories about how people tip. They told me that church goers are the worst tippers and said they hated to work on Sunday because church people would be poor tippers and complainers.
I wonder what this says about Christians? Do we give generously or are we selfish givers? I know that some have been affected by the pandemic but some have not. Some have lost their jobs but many have been able to continue as normal. Acts 2:44-46 tells about the time after Pentecost. Jesus has ascended into heaven but the Holy Spirit is in full force. “All who believed were together and had all things in common, and they sold their possessions and goods and distributed them to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad and generous hearts.”
When we take our faith seriously we want to be generous and share what we have with others. Tipping used to mean 10%. Now restaurants put 10%, 15% and 20% on the ticket because they don’t want us to have to figure it up. I used to think that $1 was enough and as I have gotten older I have seen that this is not nearly enough. The people who serve me have to live and they need to be comfortable.
The same thing should happen to us as church members. Statistics tell us that church members give about 2% overall. This is not enough but we consistently, year after year, give about 2%. How many times do we say “Thank you God!” and really mean it. I served a church once where 50% of the givers gave zero. This happens more times than we are aware. A few givers were giving a major part of the budget. We can sing all the right words and say all the right words at offering time but do we actually give from the abundance that God has given us?
I have some good Korean friends who tell me that in Korea you cannot hold a position of leadership in the church unless you tithe. In Korea tithing is not about pride or priviledge but rather a way to humbly follow Jesus.
I hope the pandemic has made us realize all that we have and all that we need to share with others. I hope we realize that we need to foster a culture of generosity. We need bigger dreams and visions for the church. We need to grow our relationship of our faith to generosity. As we say “Thank you, God” we need to mean it!
Author: Tommy Herndon