On several occasions over the past few months, I have heard and read about people in the ministry who are nearly panicking over the economic crisis. They see the impending financial doom of our American economy and are feeling the impact in their ministries’ pocketbooks. But why is that? Why do people give less during economic hard times? That question seems self explanatory—and it would be if economic hard times were the cause. But they aren’t. If economic hard times were the cause, it would stand to reason that we would have seen a much more drastic pattern during the Great Depression than we see now, but we don’t.
According to a Christian research group called Empty Tomb, fewer than 5% of Christians today actually tithe 10% of their income. The average churchgoing Christian today gives a paltry 3.4%.
In the 1930s, America was not only experiencing bank failures and unemployment rates of nearly 25%; farmers were suffering because of severe droughts and catastrophic dust storms. Well over half the population of America was living below the minimum subsistence level. No matter how difficult our economic times might seem today, they are overwhelmingly prosperous compared to then.
So then, if we are so much more prosperous than those who were in the throes of the Great Depression, why do we give 21% less per churchgoer than they did?
Who said that it’s better to give than receive? Jesus did. Could it be that we just don’t believe His words any more?