Why generosity matters, especially during a pandemic

July 10, 2020

The global COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in more people in need around the world. Health concerns, scarcity of goods, job losses, decreased wages and more have stoked fear, hoarding and other concerns. In these days, even the church isn’t immune.

On the other hand, the pandemic could help purify the church from fear, idolatry, consumerism and materialism and lead us back to representing the Lord in our generosity.

In the book of Genesis, we see that all God made, including possessions, is good. Unlike ideologies that find the material world inherently evil, biblical Christianity recognizes the goodness of creation and the material world as well as our call to use creation and material possessions to point to the Creator.

And although God’s creation remains good, sin has misdirected how we use and enjoy creation, resulting in greed, pride, materialism, coveting, theft and more. Our brokenness in the area of generosity hinders the church from fulfilling its mission and leads to more people in need physically and spiritually.

The church suffers when fear and idolatry inhibit generosity. In Matthew 6:19-20, Jesus warns us to “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” (KJV) Jesus is not forbidding surplus. He is speaking against unused surplus that many times accompanies fear.

The pandemic will help us discover who we truly serve — God or fear.

As human beings, we often obsess over possessions. In his book, Christians in an Age of Wealth: A Biblical Theology of Stewardship, Craig Blomberg writes: “The very poorest of us strive desperately to acquire at least enough to survive. Those with only their basic needs met naturally want more, in order to provide a cushion should times get worse. The middle class remains discontent because they see people with so much more. The affluent compete with their peers in countless contests of material one-upmanship. The truly wealthy worry about how to invest their resources, because mere savings may not keep pace with cost of living increases.”

It is in times like these that we are tested. The pandemic will help us discover who we truly serve — God or fear. It will help us discover who we trust in — possessions and self or God. Many times in a broken world with broken people, instability turns to fear and fear turns to a lack of generosity.

Members of the church are to give freely of their resources to support those who teach the Word, to cover the expenses of the church, to provide relief for the poor and to advance the gospel. This responsibility does not diminish during a global pandemic. In fact, this global crisis presents us with an opportunity to focus our attention on our global mission, to proclaim Christ to the world through word and deed.

Generosity is always a struggle for churches and individuals. During a pandemic, the temptation to withhold is escalated. Perhaps we fear the lack of money more than we fear God and desire to be obedient to Him.

But it is also possible that the church could be broken and repent during this time from the sinfulness of idolatry, fear, consumerism and materialism. The church could return to making disciples that see giving as an act of worship. Our giving practices could be refined back to their biblical foundation, specifically focusing on the needy. The church could reimagine new heights and ways of representing Jesus in our generosity.

But this will only happen if God chooses to keep His hand on us and we choose obedience to His word and have faith in His promises.


by Terry Long  
Church Health and Revitalization  /  Baptist State Convention of North Carolina

15 vital things you can give your pastor

October is pastor appreciation month. As a pastor for 25 years, here are some ideas for things your church can give your pastor:Give him a place.Give him a place where he is free to preach the gospel.Give him a place where he is accepted for who he is, not compared to who he...

Why I’m excited about this year’s Pastors’ Conference

The past year has been difficult. The world we live in today looks quite different than it did just 18 months ago. Many things we were accustomed to doing have either disappeared, been restricted, or have changed, for better or worse. One of the biggest changes was the separation...

The local school: A great place for church ministry

For the most part I really enjoyed school. However, there were some aspects of the time that I enjoyed more than others. I enjoyed the learning, the socialization, and of course, the sports. I found most of the assignments manageable with the exception of writing papers. Sitting...

Ready or not, here they come! Evaluating your church with fresh eyes

Is your church ready for guests who may visit your church after first watching online? Are you ready for members who may return after an extended COVID-19 break? What steps can you take to make a great first impression and reintegrate those who want to reengage with your...

Why personal evangelism is a key ingredient for turnaround churches

Many pastors and churches today are struggling. Pastors are discouraged, and some are leaving the ministry altogether. It’s been estimated that more than 80% of churches are plateaued or declining. Yet, some churches are seeing a turnaround. A fresh wind is blowing. These churches...

Looking forward to being on mission together

In late August, a series of organizational changes were unanimously approved by our state convention’s executive committee aimed at advancing all of us forward as a movement of churches on mission together. We’ve been working toward implementing these changes, and I hope that our...

Fostering and adoption: Why forever matters

“Which one is my mommy now?” I never imagined a child asking someone to point out who their mother was. However, the little blonde-haired girl named Ally, who I was holding that day, had already lived with three different families in the span of 15 months since she and her sister...

10 principles for leading in church revitalization

Many churches in our world today are in deep need of revitalization. In order to lead your church in revitalization, there are some basic principles you must follow. Here are 10 principles for a revitalizer: Be humble. You must swallow your pride, humble yourself and love even...

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay connected by signing up for the N.C. Baptist monthly newsletter.

Select Language ^

Share This

Share this with your friends!