For a Christian, the battle against sin is an everyday fight. One sin that is difficult to expose is selfishness. Surveys show that Americans, who live in one of the richest nations in the world, give less than 2 percent of their income to charitable and religious causes. While we pride ourselves on our generosity following major disasters, the facts state that we Americans as a whole are selfish with our money and relatively indifferent to the physical and material needs of people less fortunate. And even our relief giving tends to be in response to the more dramatic events. There was a great outpouring of money following the tsunami of 2004 off the coast of Indonesia, but almost no response to the almost equally-devastating earthquake of 2005 in Pakistan.
This is an especially crucial issue for believers. The apostle Paul wrote that we are to “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep” (Romans 12:15). And Jesus said, “He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise” (Luke 3:11). Taken together, these verses tell us that we are to cultivate hearts of compassion toward those in need and then put that compassion to work through our giving.
Every dollar we receive, even when earned by our work, is a gift from God. We are to be stewards of that money and not consume all or most of it on ourselves. To do so is to be selfish with our money, while ignoring the needs of others.
—Adapted from Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges