Stingy Christians was the name first considered for this book, and probably a better name. Passing the Plate analyzes the giving patterns of American Christians and finds some very shocking (or maybe not so shocking) statistics. Did you know that 20% of Christians give nearly 90% of the total given to the church and other charitable institutions? On top of that the top 5% gives more than half of the total given. The authors show all the possibilities for Christians if only the ones that call themselves committed Christians would give: The number is a staggering 46 billion.
As I write about giving, many would say: "How can you talk about giving during an economic crisis?" Well, because if we as Christians would change our giving habits in times of turmoil, that would make it a lot easier for when the economy gets better. I was listening to Johnny Hunt (the president of the Southern Baptist Convention) speak to his church the other day, and he, and his deacons, made a commitment to his church to double tithe until the economy turned around. I thought that was a great example of Christian leadership, Pastor Johnny and the leaders of the Woodstock Baptist church have stepped out and stood in the gap giving an example to their people not only to hold strong in their giving, but also to go above and beyond showing that God is in control.
What should we as pastors and laymen do? Well, we should first of all take the opportunity to make sure we are giving as we should. Then we should do all we can to push those around us to be the stewards that God wants them to be. This is no easy task, but we must challenged those around us even though our culture tells us that we should never talk about finances because that is a sensitive topic. We have a responsibility because giving is important to God, and it is his means of doing his work around this world.
The information about this book came from an article published by Christianity Today: http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2008/006/5.11.html