I’m a voracious reader. I read secular books as well as Christian books. And, yes, I admit to being old-school in that I prefer the feel of paper pages to an e-reader. I’m not opposed to e-readers, I just prefer the feel of good old fashioned paper. It keeps me grounded.
I’ve been reading a little book over the last few days and just finished it this morning. The author is Randy Alcorn and the book is “The Treasure Principle”. It dates all the way back to pre-historic times: 2001.
TRUTH: This is a Christian book
TRUTH: I understand I’m writing for a mixed audience of Christians and non-Christians alike.
With those truths in mind, I would like to offer some middle ground by explaining my point from the perspective of the Christian as well as the non-Christian.
The golden nugget of treasure that is of importance here is the concept of generous giving. Yeah, yeah, I know. There are charities of every color and creed vying for your dollars with their agendas and purposes – and you gave at the office, right?
Let’s take things a step further. What have you PERSONALLY given directly to SOMEONE? Example: Instead of taking a bundle of old clothes to a charity drop-box, how about going to the store, buying a brand new coat, and taking it to someone who needs it and giving it away? You may say, “But I don’t know anyone who needs a coat!” That’s my point. Walk down the street until you see someone who is in need and just give it away. Charities are wonderful. I’m not knocking them. But by giving EXCLUSIVELY to charities, we’re robbing ourselves of one of life’s greatest joys – to see the tears of joy in someone’s eyes when they receive something that they desperately need.
So here is the coin that I will flip both directions.
Christians, sit tight and don’t go away. I’m going to talk to the non-Christians for a second.
So, non-Christians, I have your back and I believe in the American right to believe as you wish. So does God. He believes in free-will. So exhale and relax. I’m not preaching a sermon at you. Just go with me for a second. Whether you’re a person of faith or not, it’s hard to argue with the principles of giving as outlined in the Bible. For you, I challenge you to have an open mind and do a Google search for the giving principles outlined in the Bible. See what they say. Examine your heart and see if you have a spirit of charity. See how you rate on the scale of helping others. Try giving directly to someone in addition to giving to your charities. See what happens when you cook a meal and take it to a stranger’s house and just drop it off for them with a smile and a handshake. It could be that you are missing out on one of life’s greatest joys.
Ponder that for a minute, non-Christians, and let me talk to the professing Christians for a second.
Okay, Christians, first of all, the Bible instructs us to give, yet in his book, Mr. Alcorn cites a report from back in 2001 that says that American Christians give on average between two and three percent of their income. That sounds impressive until you realize that the tithe benchmark is ten percent and anything above and beyond that is considered a gift. I have no reason to believe that the 2017 numbers are a whole lot different than the 2001 numbers. Malachi doesn’t pull any punches when he asks, “Will a man rob God?” He goes on to say that we can test God by trying to outgive him. (my paraphrase of Malachi 3:10) So, for you Christians, maybe we’re also missing out on a blessing by not giving or simply not giving enough.
Now, I realize that this a political blog that I’m writing for so let me put a political spin on things.
Why is America taking less and less stock of what Christians say and believe? I think it’s this: we largely act and talk just like they do. Other than going to church on Sunday, we have become very much just like secular society. Christians, do you want to be relevant in political circles? Do you want politicians to take you seriously? How about acting differently? How about doing more than just opposing ideas? Perhaps if we acted more Christ-like, then politicians might give more credence to what we say when we clear our throats, stand up, and say, “I object.” Giving is a good jumping off place for re-gaining that influence and respect.
In my humble opinion, Christianity has become less relevant in America not because of the fading of the message, but in the quality of the messenger. Until Christians begin to act Christ-like, you can bet we will continue to be marginalized, ignored, and ridiculed. Do you want to see Christianity become relevant in American culture again? Then show people how a soft, Christ-like heart looks.
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