An Unsettling Story About Money
How attached are you to your wealth, whatever “wealth” means in your context?
Well, the results of our Honest Answers Quick Poll are in, so I’d like to share them with you, together what is, to my mind, one of the most unsettling stories about money in the Bible.
Are you ready?
Honest Answers Quick Poll Results
It’s always interesting to put a poll in the field. You never know what answers you’re going to get back. But this time, it was kind of what I expected. Here’s a summary:
If God asked you to give up you most valued financial asset, how would you respond?
15% I’d give it to Him without blinking
14% Hmmm … I’d really have to think about that
8% I’d struggle and perhaps give Him part
2% I’d tell Him – “No”
I responded in the most popular group, with the 61%. But afterward I was asking myself the hard question – Would I really??!! How about you?
Just over 75% said that they would give God their most valuable financial asset either without blinking, or after some thinking. That’s pretty impressive.
But does this response match with what we’re actually doing right now? In other words, is it more reflective of wishful thinking than our actual approach to giving?
In a comprehensive piece of research into giving patterns by regular church attenders in Australia, the National Church Life Survey (NCLS) reports that:
19% of church attenders give 10% or more of their income regularly
20% give 5% to 9% of their income regularly
27% give less than 5%
28% give a small amount whenever they attend
7% do not contribute at all
So, just quickly doing the maths:
- 62% give 5% or less, and
- a whopping 82% give less than 10%.
Hang on, that doesn’t quite add up with our Honest Answers Quick Poll, does it?
Is that because the people who read this blog are better givers than the average church population? Is it because the NCLS asked different questions to me? Or is it, because we’d like to think we’d give God the big sacrifice, whilst at the same time, not taking our giving to Him on a day-to-day, week-to-week proposition all that seriously?
I’ll leave you to answer that one.
That Unsettling Story I Was Telling You About …
But while you’re pondering those questions, here’s probably the most unsettling money story in the Bible:
He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on. (Luke 21:1-4)
Why is it so unsettling? Because Jesus wasn’t all that impressed by the rather large amounts that the rich people put in the offering. The one He praised was that crazy old woman who did the unthinkable, by putting all she had to live on into the hat on the way through! What sort of crazy approach to stewardship is that, pray tell?!
Well, it’s the sort that gets Jesus excited. Turns out, He’s not so much interested in how much we give, but rather in what it costs us.
The sort of giving that gets Jesus excited is the sort that is sacrificial.
So What’s My Point?
Normally, as you know, I set out to make a point in my blog posts. But not this time.
I don’t want to guilt anyone. I don’t want to manipulate anyone. I don’t want to judge anyone.
My only agenda, is to make you think; to cause you to ask yourself some questions about your commitment to God’s work.
All I’d ask you to do is to chew on the facts in the context of your circumstances, to chew over your response if you answered the question in the Honest Answers Quick Poll, and to lay it all out before God … and may His Spirit lead you in the right direction.
Other Posts About Money: