What do Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas all have in common? They are great reasons to love the last quarter of the year despite having to say farewell to cookouts, pool parties, and beach trips for 9 months! On another note, they are great opportunities to be generous.
It’s when we outdo ourselves in giving the best candy to neighborhood kids scavenging for sweet treats. It’s when we invite friends and family over to feast on turkey, homemade pie, and American football. It’s when we embrace our inner Santa and practice the timeless proverb the Savior exclaimed when He said, “It’s more blessed to give than to receive.”
It’s also a time when more and more of our non-Christian friends and family raise the question, “Are Christians any more generous than the rest of the community?” Does faith in Christ and devotion to God produce a tangible and financial difference?
The Barna Group, an internationally respected evangelical research firm based in Ventura, California, says yes. In a study they released last April, they found that 96% of practicing Christians gave to a non-profit or church within the previous year compared to 60% among atheists and agnostics. 1
Additionally, a report released last year by secular group ResearchGate based in Berlin, Germany challenged and even overturned a 2015 study that purported to have found that religious children from six different countries were less altruistic than their nonreligious counterparts. 2
Likewise, Philanthropy Roundtable, a very well-known, non-religious charitable organization based in Washington, DC states that religious practice is the largest indicator for generous living and giving in America. 3
But do these statistics and statements surprise us? They shouldn’t!
Shouldn’t we expect that those living from the Gospel… those who trust and treasure Jesus… the immortal and invincible Son of God who laid aside all of His divine privileges to GIVE His all so that WE might RECEIVE… shouldn’t we expect that those who are joyfully following Him would follow Him in His radical generosity?
Living from the Gospel is simply doing to others what God in Christ has done for us.
Living from the Gospel is generously giving to others of what we have generously received.
Living from the Gospel is joyfully embracing what the Apostle Paul said to the Philippian believers… “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” 4
Living from the Gospel is living generously.
4) Philippians 2:3-4 ESV