The Bible teaches its followers to be generous. Since we believe Jesus’ teachings:
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. (Matthew 25:40 KJV)
… we believe we are to see after those in need. James gives us the very definition of religion:
Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27 KJV)
According to a review of 2008 data (latest available) states are not equally generous. Not my words, so don’t yell at me yet – take a look at the article on MSNBC (don’t correct me yet – I know it’s now NBC since the split – but this URL still says MSNBC).
The reason I’m thinking about this comes down to some things I’ve read about how better off we’d be without religion. You know, just Imagine how that would be! The assumption is that without religion there would be no reason to have wars.
Please, think again. Liberalism, humanism if you will, is more prevalent in the northeastern United States. There are divisions within our nation that are geographic. Yet, this article from an openly liberal-biased media outlet states;
The study released Monday by the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that residents in states where religious participation is higher than the rest of the nation, particularly in the South, gave the greatest percentage of their discretionary income to charity.Could be because we have the example of the widow:
And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living. (Mark 12:42-44 KJV)
We must have a heart for giving, a compassion for the people – giving money alone is not sufficient:
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:3 KJV)
In his next book, Paul wrote:
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 KJV)
I would pray that everyone find it in their hearts to be a cheerful giver, not only of their money, but their time and energy to see to the needs of their fellowman:
For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. (Matthew 25:35-36 KJV)
Remember the definition of true religion. Practice it and perhaps the article written about next year’s study of generosity will be vastly different.