You love to give

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Mennonite Brethren love our churches, love to give

By Jon C. Wiebe

I Timothy 6:18 is becoming one of my favorite passages: “Command them (us) to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” That pretty much captures the essence of generosity, does it not?

Twice this verse tells us to be generous with our time for the sake of others. And not just to do good, but to be rich in good deeds. As Andy Stanley puts it, our deeds should be above average. Rich in good deeds.

Then the focus shifts to our money. Twice we are encouraged to give. The apostle Paul says we should be “generous” and “willing to share.” Not just people who give, but people who are willing to give.  Not just donors, but generous donors. Yet, an analysis by the Chronicle of Philanthropy verified once again that on average, Americans give about 3 percent. It is interesting to note that the most generous states with Mennonite Brethren churches are Utah at #1 followed by Oklahoma at #8.  The least generous states in our MB family are California at #40 and North Dakota at #44. 

A survey conducted by MB Foundation at the 2014 USMB National Convention shows Mennonite Brethren love our churches and love to give. Participants were asked to list the top five charities to which they love to give, and results were tallied to give increasing weight to higher rankings. The local church easily ranked first for respondents, receiving three times as many mentions as any other category, which is compounded because they received a #1 ranking in over 65 percent of surveys.

Mission work also ranks highly, as MB Mission came in second and a general missions category came in third. Education is also very important to Mennonite Brethren. Three of the top 10 organizations are MB educational institutions, and if all 18 educational institutions mentioned were lumped together as a category it would easily jump to second behind the local church.

It is also clear that, while we have many common interests, Mennonite Brethren love to give to a huge variety of charities. We had 119 responses to our survey, and over 200 different charities or charity groups were mentioned. Mennonite Brethren are fueling ministry with hundreds of organizations around the world!  On the back cover of this issue, you’ll find an illustration of the top 31 ministries we love to give to. 

Do you love to give?  Perhaps the following tips will help you increase your generosity:

  • Prayerfully meditate on I Timothy 6:17-19. Spend time in confession, repentance and surrender.
  • Determine how much you want to give. Make your generosity a firstfruits gift in keeping with your income (1 Cor. 16:2).
  • Read The Generosity Ladder by Nelson Searcy.
  • As you give, focus on the ministries that reflect God’s heart. Scripture seems clear that God is interested in evangelism, discipleship, taking care of those who teach us and the poor.

If you would like to grow in your generosity, contact us (info@mbfoundation.com or 800.551.1547) for a free copy of Searcy’s great little book, The Generosity Ladder.  Supplies are limited!

Let us recommit to doing good and being generous with time and money. In doing so, we have the opportunity to experience real life—the life Jesus came to bring (1 Tim. 6:19). 

Jon C. Wiebe is the president and CEO of MB Foundation, the U.S. Mennonite Brethren stewardship ministry.

 

 

 

CL Archives
This article is part of the CL Archives. Articles published between August 2017 and July 2008 were posted on a previous website and are archived here for your convenience. We have also posted occasional articles published prior to 2008 as part of the archive. To report a problem with the archived article, please contact the CL editor at editor@usmb.org.

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