Thursday, March 15, 2012


An economic recession is an ideal context to reclaim, re-trust, and re-implement the simplicity of giving.  Givonomics has nothing to do with being rich enough to give or poor enough not to give.  And it does not necessarily correlate to the economy. We tend to count zeros associated with a person's net worth and become either excited or depressed.  But God counts the intent of the heart.  He desires to transform our souls from being instinctively selfish to instinctively generous.  Why do we waste so much time resisting such a change?

We are born with selfish DNA.  Watch any young child with his toys and the empirical evidence is overwhelming.  We want for ourselves.  God wants us to want for others. Jesus' teachings are bold and compelling - recalibrating us to be givers.  He emphasized the intent of the heart and de-emphasized the letter of the law.  Why? Complying with a mandate like giving 10% of your money to God does not require a revolution of the soul.  Becoming a generous person does.  We don't have a tithing problem in the Church.  We have a generosity problem.  Lack of tithing is merely a symptom.

To continue, God blesses and praises generous sacrifice over quantity.  Jesus was literally more impressed with the widow's meager offering than the large, non-sacrificial gifts of the wealthy.  He was not using hyperbole to make a point.  Jesus meant it.  God's inequality is this: Generosity + Sacrifice > All Quantities of Giving. And the metrics used to evaluate this is integrity of the heart.  In givonomics a smaller gift can be greater than a larger gift.  Or a larger gift can be more sacrificial than a smaller gift. Only God and the individual can make that judgement.  That is the beauty of this.  

So what hinders us from being people who have a harder time giving than consuming?  Let's consider two causes - self-preservation and fear of being wrong.
  • Self-preservation - Our sinful nature predisposes us to obsess over self-preservation.  Part of the deception inflicted on us by the enemy of our souls is the following insidious lie:  if all is well with me than all is well with the world!  We marinate in this lie making decisions and allocating time and resources to assure its survival.  I wonder how much time, energy, and money is wasted on the excessive self-preservation of ego and status? Some are praying for revival, but we need to pray for funerals.  Death precedes life in givonomics.  A community of people who put to death the daily obsession of self-preservation is a people who will experience the abundance of God's life-changing power both for themselves and their surrounding community.  Stories of giving will be the prequels to stories of redemption.  The Father gave the Son and redemption followed.  To gain we must give.  
  • Fear of being wrong - What if all of this is nonsense?  What if this type of thinking is an ecclesiastical ponzi scheme used by greedy religious leaders to acquire personal wealth?  What if I become generous and nothing positive happens?  And the person who gives nothing seems to prosper?  If we are honest with one another, we fear being wrong.  While we need to be prudent and wise regarding the people and organizations who are recipients of our generosity, we must be willing to be risky givers.  The generous heart does not lack common fear; it lacks preventive fear.  There is a big difference.  Common fear is a natural human condition. Preventive fear thwarts giving and provides us with excuses that ease our consciences.  Givonomics pushes us to face our fears and "to test and see if the Lord is good." 
Ex nihilo,

R.J. Rhoden