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.
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: