An Ecumenical Ministry in the Parish of St Patrick's Catholic Church In San Diego USA


Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Five good reasons for not giving

Five good reasons for not giving

Many people in churches are reticent to talk about the question of money and giving. The Church of England has long had a goal of asking people to give 5% of their net income to the church—and has long failed to achieve this. Some denominations and theological traditions are much better at giving, and include a culture of giving in their approach to discipleship. But many others find it hard to broach the subject.

There are lots of good reasons for commending giving as a spiritual discipline, seen as part of our following Jesus. But I wonder whether part of reason for our lack of effectiveness is that we do not deal with the (sometimes well founded) objections to sacrificial personal giving.

So when I was recently asked to preach about this at another church, I decided to address what I felt were the five main reasons people have for not giving. Do you think there are others? Tell me in the comments.

1. It is personal

'What I do with my money is my business. It is personal, and private, and has nothing to do with you. So mind your own business!'

This is a powerful cultural response in many parts of the UK. We have a long cultural tradition of considering these sorts of issues as personal and private, in contrast to many other cultures around the world, including elsewhere in the West. It is such a strong feeling that there is even a TV advertising campaign currently based exactly this feeling: a group of people are visiting someone's home, and one guest has the temerity to ask out loud how much the house is worth. An awkward and embarrassing silence sudden falls in the room!

This is a stark contrast to what I have experienced elsewhere. When visiting the States some years ago, I went to an American football match, and the wealthy sponsor of one of the clubs was standing outside the main entrance happily giving away the most expensive tickets to any who looked deserving. (We got great seats!)

Interestingly, Jesus' teaching supports such a response to some extent. In Matthew 6.1, 6 and 16, he challenges his own culture's practice of ostentatious display, and argues that we should do our 'deeds of righteousness' (meaning practical holy living) in secret 'so that your heavenly Father sees you'.

But the counterpoint to this secrecy is that, Jesus assures us, one day it will be made public. 'What has been done in secret will be shouted from the rooftops!' (Luke 12.3). One day we will give an account of how we have used the time, energy, resource and money that God has given us.

The post Five good reasons for not giving first appeared on Psephizo.

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