Friday, October 20, 2006

Giving in obedience

When I was little my parents always tithed for me. I never really got an allowance until much later — when I was living with my grandmother and aunt during the week. And then, the money given didn't cover the expenses of buying reeds for my saxophone, paying for lunch, etc. I didn't learn the importance of tithing.
A recent report released by empty tomb, inc. said that according to church members in 2004, giving was down compared to previous years.

The article said: "Church members gave 2.56 percent of their income, down from 3.11 percent in 1968.
"The Illinois-based Christian research organization found that giving to benevolent causes — activities focused outside the congregation — as a portion of income increased slightly in 2004 from the 2003 level. The levels for 2003 and 2004 both rounded to 0.38 percent, the lowest in the 37-year period empty tomb has tracked such numbers.
"Empty tomb reported the rate of giving to congregational finances — the funding of internal operations of the congregation — began to recover in 1993 but was down in 2003 and 2004. The portion of income given to congregational finances declined more than activities focused on benevolences, the study found.
"For each dollar donated to a congregation, denominations spent 2 cents on overseas missions in 2004, down from 7 cents in the 1920s. The study’s authors, John and Sylvia Ronsvalle, said evangelical Christians could complete the task of global evangelization for 7 cents per member per day.
"Using statistics published by the Southern Baptist Convention for 2004, empty tomb determined that 1 cent of each dollar given to an SBC church ultimately makes it way to the International Mission Board to support missionaries.
dditional data is available through the empty tomb website,, and the entire report is available in a book called “The State of Church Giving through 2004.”

I pray this is not correct. One cent of every dollar given to a Southern Baptist Convention church ultimately makes it to the Interational Mission Board. Since Cooperative Program giving and Annie Armstrong reports are up, can you imagine what Lottie Moon might be this year — well, technically next year? And that apparently is only one cent on the dollar given to SBC churches!
Imagine, if you will, a world in which all church members tithed!
I've never seen it, and in a world full of greedy people I don't imagine it will ever happen. But I can continue to pray and share the many blessings I've received by being faithful in tithing to my local church.

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