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July 08, 2012


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Knowing that the world is passing away makes the idea of giving a little more easier. "The elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." We are invited to transfer our temporal wealth to eternal wealth by Jesus in Matthew 6:20 "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal." To me that helps but I still struggle with giving generously probably because I have my wants that get in the way.

I think it's interesting that giving can be sacrificial in that it means you have less overall money and therefore have to work harder or longer to retire or reach certain goals. It is like a delayed sacrifice. I've never thought of it in that way.

I don't think or see how we are called to live ultra frugally and to give everything else.

I think that sacrificial giving it is the most noble thing anyne can do. I really recommend you guys try it. It will change you.

My first sacrificial giving was few years ago and I try to do it as often as I can. There is no greater pleasure in life than helping somebody.

FMF, regarding your point #3, I hardly think a missionary's salary is equivalent to living in poverty. My wife and I are living on about the midpoint of your $25-35k estimate quite comfortably. We're able to save, eat well, take vacations, spend without worrying about making ends meet (though we naturally don't spend a lot), and give generously on that amount.

I'm sure it would be a stretch for you all, and perhaps you are not called to that. But I personally would have a hard time seeing a self-imposed spending restriction of $25-35k as living in poverty, and I certainly would not equate that with the view that Christians should give everything away and live extremely ascetic lifestyles.

I appreciate this post much more than the one on tithing and find it far more interesting. You are quite right with point #4 and I think that's where we should all be focusing more - on our own hearts, motives, and devotions rather than other people's.

The danger you speak of is real. It destroyed any honor held by the word “televangelist”, for example.

But it is just a danger, not a law of physics. Each case must be evaluated individually. For some Christians, the GREATER danger may be using this reasoning as an excuse to avoid giving.

Paul --

I just picked the missionary salary number out of the air. I assume you think the amount they earn would be lower?

I think that if everyone lived sacrificially the economy would collapse. We tithe and then some but more importantly we try to spend where it is helpful. We eat out at locally owned restaraunts and sometimes hire others to do jobs we could do. While not charity I think keeping people gainfully employed adds to the world (they don't need charity if they work). Because the economy is so different today than it was 2,000 years ago maybe I thinking needs to extrapolate.

I love this discussion, FMF. Having finished reading Randy Alcorn's "Money, Possessions, & Eternity" just yesterday afternoon, this topic has been timely and on my mind quite a bit.

In the end, I think that the words of Christ in Matthew 6 offer the greatest incentive to give away MOST of what we have to build things of eternal value - "send the money ahead" if you will. God has blessed you and I (and many others reading this) well beyond what we need in order to live a fulfilling life. If we focus on supplying the needs of our poor brothers and sisters in Christ in America and around the world, God will most certainly take care of us during times of need. (2 Cor. 8:14)

Alcorn frequently quoted John Wesley, who managed to give away all but a few pounds before his death. When I arrive in my eternal resting place, I pray that I too will have invested an overwhelming portion of my time and energy into that heavenly dwelling and into the glory of our King.

Well, if you think about the fact that if the money you have given to charity had been saved for your own personal gain, then you would be retired- IMO that right there is sacrificial. It's kind of the same idea as someone giving up something for lent, that isn't very hard for them to do without for a period of time. Sacrificing is a Catholic virtue to show that we are grateful. A family living on 25k-35k when they could be using more to fulfill the necessities of their lifestyle seems more than sacrificial. I think that giving any amount that seems fair and "enough" to you is enough of a sacrifice. So many who have to means simply don't give because they don't want to, so IMO any little bit that one can contribute is better than nothing.

FMF, no, I don't think it would be lower necessarily. It's probably a good number for a U.S. lifestyle. From what I understand, a missionary's salary will depend in large part on where they are living, with some given an amount for savings when the return home (if they will).

If you want to check your estimate, I'd recommend talking with Craig at Money Help for Christians ( He was a missionary kid, became a missionary, and just got back to the U.S. recently, so I'm sure he'd be able to give you some ideas.

My point was mainly that "living in poverty" would require a lower income than $25-35k/year. I'm living on that amount and feel like we're nowhere near poverty.

By the way, have you considered adding a plugin/option to subscribe to comments by email? I see that I can subscribe to the comment feed via a feed reader, but for some reason I actually prefer email subscriptions for comments.

Paul --

I'm not sure Typepad (the service I use) offers that option. I'll need to check into it.

To echo Paul's experience, I know a few people who live on $20k or less who don't feel poor. It's hard to believe they are related to some six figure earners who have trouble making ends meet.

One of those getting by on around 18K per year gives $5K each year to charity. She's my inspiration.


Personally, I think you are a bit too hard on yourself. It's difficult to judge anyone just based on their current or future giving percentage. A young person may be able to give out 100% of his assets, knowing fully well that he can earn it back quickly the next month or the next year. An old poor head-of-household may be extremely difficult to give out 3% of his income, when he can barely support his family. You know, who are we to judge each other, whether we ought to give out more or not??

Yes, for a wealthy person, it's hard to do any sacrificial giving. But when we give, I think it's much more important to contemplate about the meaning behind the actual giving than the giving itself. Do we really own anything of this world, or God is the owner? Etc.

The spiritual growth is both inside and outside. On the outside, we give. On the inside, we grow detached from material things and grow towards God. Both need to be complementary. The act of giving is disproportional to how much one is attached to the material side. And through the actual giving, we make ourselves to learn that we are all brothers and sisters under the same God family.

I just found the most beautiful (real) story ever that I've read. I thought you should check it out. Yes, we're all not there, but it's a goal to strive for. I made some small donation, because I want the name of Peace Pilgrim to be heard by more people:

There is a 16 minutes video below (need to scroll down quite a bit) if you don't have 3 hours to finish reading 143 pages online book.

Her life story is so beautiful that I barely can do anything else besides learning more about this old woman.

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