Something clicked for me the other day. American Christians generally don’t give. Even the ones who “give” don’t give.
The American Church’s idea of giving has been so completely polluted by US capitalism that Christians talk about “giving” when we really mean “investing”. We don’t give resources to someone else and relinquish control. We want to control what is done with that money, or at least we want oversight. We talk about “accountability” when what we really mean is that we don’t want our money to be spent on things we personally object to.
It really translates to a kind of ownership over the recipient. By investing in someone, we purchase a controlling interest. We become shareholders in a venture. We still maintain ownership of what we’ve “given”.
We like to couch this in terms of “wise stewardship”, but that’s not how stewardship works. Your stewardship of resources ends when you give. The recipient then becomes the steward, accountable before God, not you.
I suppose that’s the crux, isn’t it? We don’t take seriously the fact that others are accountable to God, and not to us. Seems to be a running theme in the American church.