Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to.
-- Deuteronomy 15:10
The statistics are literally heart stopping.
According to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is responsible for about 1 out of every 3 deaths in the United States. The respected health organization reports that in 2012, nearly 2,150 Americans died from CVD every day. That's an average of one death every 40 seconds!
It's obvious that our nation is dealing with a major health crisis. But there's another serious heart problem that doesn't involve cigarette smoke, cholesterol management or low-fat diets. Far too many Christ-followers lack a heart that's willing to give according to the resources God has richly given them. They might not be wealthy...but they do have some to offer. And when they do open their pocketbooks, it's often done grudgingly.
Of course, that's not the example God has given us through His Word, the Bible. If there's one thing we should learn from God's principles about money and possessions, it's to be generous.
We worship a God of generosity. And He wants us to follow His example and spread His Kingdom throughout our community and beyond. One way to do that is by following the Biblical principle of the tithe, which means giving the first 10 percent of our income back to Him through the Church. Of course, the God who created the universe with a Word hardly needs our money. But following this savvy practice accomplishes several purposes. In addition to enabling the church to better spread the good news about Jesus Christ, help Christ-followers grow spiritually and benefit our communities, generous, purposeful giving shows how much we differ from society. The world teaches that cash is king and that he (or she) who has the most toys wins. Money and possessions are its god. But Christ-followers are to exchange what will ultimately rust and fade away for something much more permanent and valuable. Our Lord also knows our inner nature; if we didn't give to others, our selfish natures would take over.
Why do many Christ-followers fail to give to their potential? For some, it's a lack of sound Biblical teaching on the matter. For others, it might be a lack of financial planning or even debt issues. And unfortunately, basic selfishness often figures into the equation.
Whether you're rich or poor--or somewhere in the middle--generosity with your possessions is the cure for discontentment... as well as the antidote to materialism. Because when we give Jesus some, He can do a lot.