All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all. There were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone as he had need. Acts 4:32-35
Do you know how Mother’s Day began? An executive at Hallmark decided that producing this manufactured holiday would increase their giving card sales during a slow period of the year. Father’s Day followed. In an attempt to copy these successes, candy companies followed suit and tried to make “Candy Day.” (Un)Fortunately, this holiday did not take off.
Today is supposedly called #GivingTuesday, or so my Twitter feed claims.
Embracing the strategies of our consumeristic lifestyles, we have diluted true generosity into a marketing ploy that tries to piggyback off of our leftover shopping.
Having over-stuffed ourselves on ThanksgivingThursday, we lined up outside the big box stores on BlackFriday; feeling guilty that our glut is eroding local businesses we developed SmallBusinessSaturday; and somehow, employees, upon returning to their high-speed internet work stations after a long holiday weekend, have found time to surf for sales on CyberMonday…squeezed in there we made SinSunday (but don’t twitter search that NSFW).
So, to capstone an over-stuffed, over-saturated, over-spent week, we have decided that the leftover space on our credit cards should go to help somebody…somewhere…somehow.
What would it look like if instead of reducing generosity to a single day we made it a lifestyle? What would it look like instead of ending the week, we began our days with a generous spirit? What would it look like for there to “be no needy persons among them” as the Acts church inspires us to become?
I recently read that the world produces enough grain to give each person 3,500 calories worth per day. Adding in meats, vegetables and fruit, there is enough food for every person to have 4.3lbs per day. Therefore scarcity is not the issue, it’s distribution.
The church used to play this role of provider and distributor, but unfortunately, it has abdicated its responsibility to governments and corporations, which largely center their giving on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.
The church was once the founder of schools, developer of hospitals, caretaker to orphans, assistant to widows, producer of the arts…but has divested from these institutions. Consider the impact that the church could generate if it did not reduce giving to a day (or to its stewardship season) but re-embraced its original intent.
The first non-Biblical description of the church by a non-Christian came in the 3rd Century by Lucan, a Roman citizen who described Christ-followers as:
“Their absurd generosity and their sacrificial concern for others whom they didn’t even know by name.”
Is your generosity absurd or calculated? Is your concern sacrificial or manufactured?
3 thoughts on “Devotion: A Generous Lifestyle beyond #GivingTuesday”
The following is worth a read for those that maybe are thinking they could use more of what God’s allowed them to have for the benefit of others:
The most astounding for me was this one:
5. The United States has upward of 50,000 storage facilities, more than five times the number of Starbucks. Currently, there is 7.3 square feet of self-storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation. Thus, it is physically possible that every American could stand—all at the same time—under the total canopy of self storage roofing.
Sharing everything we have?
Thanks to Hops for this data–from Source
12 Staggering Facts About How Much Stuff We Have
Joshua Becker writes a blog on living the minimalist life and he’s compiled quite a list of how much Americans love their stuff. Here are 12 facts:
1) There are 300,000 items in the average American home (LA Times).
2) The average size of the American home has nearly tripled in size over the past 50 years (NPR).
3) And still, 1 out of every 10 Americans rent offsite storage—the fastest growing segment of the commercial real estate industry over the past four decades. (New York Times Magazine).
4) While 25% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them and 32% only have room for one vehicle. (U.S. Department of Energy).
5) The United States has upward of 50,000 storage facilities, more than five times the number of Starbucks. Currently, there is 7.3 square feet of self-storage space for every man, woman and child in the nation. Thus, it is physically possible that every American could stand—all at the same time—under the total canopy of self storage roofing (SSA).
6) 3.1% of the world’s children live in America, but they own 40% of the toys consumed globally (UCLA).
7) The average American woman owns 30 outfits—one for every day of the month. In 1930, that figure was nine (Forbes).
8) While the average American throws away 65 pounds of clothing per year (Huffington Post).
9) Currently, the 12 percent of the world’s population that lives in North America and Western Europe account for 60 percent of private consumption spending, while the one-third living in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa accounts for only 3.2 percent (Worldwatch Institute).
10) Americans spend more on shoes, jewelry, and watches ($100 billion) than on higher education (Psychology Today).
11) Shopping malls outnumber high schools. And 93% of teenage girls rank shopping as their favorite pastime (Affluenza).
12) Americans spend $1.2 trillion annually on nonessential goods—in other words, items they do not need (The Wall Street Journal).
Well said, but I still think that giving follows listening and learning from others first. Giving should show respect for the recipient and should begin a relationship, rather than just throwing money or other stuff at people we perceive as needy. Needy of what – maybe our respect.
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