I just read some
rather disappointing figures in the latest issue of Leadership, a journal
for church leaders (Fall, 1989, p. 97).

The average percentage
of after-tax income given by U.S. Protestants to their churches in 1938 was
3.05%.

The average percentage
given in 1985 was 2.79%.

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A vital part of
worship is giving. We are to respond to the needs of the church and God’s people
in a loving, sacrificial manner. Leslie B. Flynn illustrated this kind of personal
giving in his book Worship. He wrote, “A man was packing a shipment
of food contributed by a school for the poor people of Appalachia. He was separating
beans from powdered milk, and canned vegetables from canned meats. Reaching
into a box filled with various cans, he pulled out a little brown paper sack.
Apparently one of the pupils had brought something different from the items
on the suggested list. Out of the paper bag fell a peanut butter sandwich, an
apple, and a cookie. Crayoned in large letters was a little girl’s name, ‘Christy
– Room 104’. She had given up her lunch for some hungry person.

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In the fourth year of his layoff from his job, Dad gave Mom a dishwasher for Christmas.
You have to understand the magnitude of the gift: Our old house had its original wiring and plumbing, and neither could handle the required installation. There was no spot in the small kitchen for such a large appliance. And we hadn’t even been able to meet the mortgage interest payments for over six months.
But Dad hated the thought of washing dishes; he would rather do anything else. And Mom had undergone major surgery that spring, a radical mastectomy for breast cancer, and found it difficult to do any work requiring the use of her arms.
No large box appeared, no new plumbing or wiring was installed, no remodeling of the kitchen occurred. Rather, a small note appeared on a branch of the Christmas tree, handwritten by Dad:
“For one year I will wash all of the dirty dishes in this household. Every one.”
And he did. He really did.

– Judy Rogers, Westerville, Ohio in Guideposts, Dec. 1988


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