Ronald Sider, author of the eye-opening ’70s book Rich Christians In An Age of Hunger recently reviewed a new book entitled Passing the Plate: Why American Christians Don’t Give Away More Money.
The book attempts to answer the question of why American Christians, despite being constantly preached to about tithing 10 percent of their income, give so little to the church and to charitable causes. The sad truth is, committed Christians alone have tremendous buying power and resources to make a huge dent. Sider writes:
If just the ‘committed Christians’ (defined as those who attend church at least a few times a month or profess to be “strong” or “very strong” Christians) would tithe, there would be an extra 46 billion dollars a year available for kingdom work. To make that figure more concrete, the authors suggest dozens of different things that $46 billion would fund each year: for example, 150,000 new indigenous missionaries; 50,000 additional theological students in the developing world; 5 million more micro loans to poor entrepreneurs; the food, clothing and shelter for all 6,500,000 current refugees in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East; all the money for a global campaign to prevent and treat malaria; resources to sponsor 20 million needy children worldwide. Their conclusion is surely right: ‘Reasonably generous financial giving of ordinary American Christians would generate staggering amounts of money that could literally change the world.’