August 19, 2007

The Grace-guide for Giving

2 Corinthians 8:7-15

Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor ... 2 Corinthians 8:9


As a business loan officer at a bank, I often had access to personal financial information that would show how much a bank customer had given to churches or charities. That experience confirmed for me a trend that all stewardship studies reveal--the higher the income, the lower the percentage donated to charitable causes. While there are some wealthy people who give generously, the sad fact is that most do not.

As a pastor, I find that church members are often reluctant for me to give them specific guidance about giving. Perhaps they are afraid I might say, "Give this amount each week," or "Give this percentage of your income," or "Give this percentage of your assets," or "Give on the basis of others' needs."

Paul's words need to be our first criterion in deciding how much to give: Remember the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was rich. His balance sheet included the assets of the entire universe. But he gave away all his riches for us. He chose to become one of the poor, one of us. A deeper descent from wealth into poverty cannot be imagined. Jesus took the route of poverty so that we might become rich. Let's remember that when we decide how much we should give back for the cause of his kingdom. When we do that, the amount we give will always be the right amount.

Lord, help us to give generously out of gratitude for all you have done. Our gifts are small, but please bless them for the sake of your kingdom. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Fred Bultman

Fred Bultman began a “second career” as a pastor in 1997, after a first career in the banking business.  He served as pastor to congregations in the U.S. and Canada. In retirement, he continues to enjoy sharing in the ministry of the churches in and around his home in Fremont, Michigan.

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