Monday, August 7, 2017

Missing Generosity

Luke 6:38 - Give, and it will be given to you; a good measure--pressed down, shaken together, and running over--will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you."

The conversation began like many others we had had before. I shared some things God was doing in our ministry. He shared some ways God was opening doors for witnessing in the public square. We rejoiced together at God’s great work. Then we talked about our struggles. They were remarkably similar. Sometimes people did not follow through on their commitments. There never seemed to be enough time, energy or money to get everything done. At the end of the conversation he said “People are just not generous anymore.”

What my friend meant was that people did not volunteer as much as in the past. People did not donate as much as previous generations. Though I tend to be more optimistic about the future than my friend, statistics show that he is right in his conclusions. The December 27, 2016 issue of The Atlantic magazine reported that research done by the YMCA “shows that Americans are volunteering less time and donating less money to causes that were once important to them.” The article goes on to say that the “average American has grown more tight-fisted in recent years, donating a smaller portion of his or her income to charity than he or she did 10 years ago.”

This is something that our society needs to discuss openly, especially those of us who believe in using our resources to advance the gospel in both spiritual and practical ways. We have to rediscover the joy of generous giving. We must once again learn how to give abundantly of our time, talents and treasure.

How many of us can honestly say we have been generous with our time, talents and treasure in the last six months? Could we describe the time we spent volunteering as ample, overflowing or plenteous? Would we consider our level of financial giving to be lavish, abundant, or exuberant? Did we use our talents in bountiful ways to help the organizations we are connected to be over the top successful? Or are we only volunteering enough or donating enough to be socially acceptable? Have we simply eased our conscience with a token when what we need is a return to generosity? These are questions we must answer individually and corporately if our society is to be what it should be.

Lord, help us to be generous with our time, talents and treasure out of the deep appreciation for all You have already done for us. Amen.

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Dr. Terry W. Dorsett has been a pastor, church planter, denominational leader and author in New England for more than 20 years. He is a happy husband, a proud father and adoring grandfather. He is a cancer survivor and believes that God works powerfully through times of suffering. He writes extensively and you can find all of his books at:

3 comments:

  1. Terry, what I have found is the church has also been less generous. I think when we approach this issue we need to lead by example as Christ did. In His example (let's take the feeding of the 5,000), there was enough for everyone and an abundance left over. People then followed Christ a great distance asking what they could do.
    My point is when the church leads with generosity, it is returned back many fold, because it's people see the blessing of others by the church. When the church is close fisted the people also see that and they become hardened. God has certainly blessed our small church by demonstrating generosity in finances as well as labor. We have never charged for a meal and have served over 6,000 so far, we have never charged for Bible study materials, we haven't ever passed a plate on Sunday morning, yet we have richly blessed. Like sand the tighter our grip the more that pours out of our hands. Are we practicing Luke 6:29-30; Matthew 5:38-42? I suspect if the church did these other issues would pass away as well.
    Food for thought. God bless

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    1. Excellent observation and powerful insight.

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  2. Martin C. HaglundAugust 9, 2017 at 8:19 AM

    With the increasing distrust of institutions of all kinds (for a multitude of reasons) there has come a reaction that strikes at the root.

    We as His Body need to examine ourselves and answer these questions and add another: Is Jesus Really Lord of our Lives?

    It is said that postmoderns want involvement and first hand experience. It is also reported that churches are improved when the Body is directly involved to that which they whole heartedly believe.

    For Sarah and I, we have used our home to house the homeless, despondent and initially suicidal, cook and feed the same and offer thousands of hours of Biblical Counseling at greater sacrifice than sending them elsewhere.

    We can never be the same.

    The effects upon the church looks minimal, even initially like a loss. The Kingdom gains. The broken are restored.

    The Father, Son and Spirit get Incarnated. We asked for and received no assistance except that which God Ordained...and that without our speaking a word to anyone except God in prayer.

    Only afterwards did our fellowship learn of it. They just knew we were broken, weeping, sometimes depressed, sometimes absent...

    Today at 66, I continue to work to make repairs on our aging house, to supplement our meager Social Security and to afford the medications that assist us in continuing to Love and Give from a healthy mindset.

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