Spare Change Living and Giving

Ken Stern asks “the wealthiest Americans donate 1.3 percent of their income; the poorest, 3.2 percent. What’s up with that?”

One of the most surprising, and perhaps confounding, facts of charity in America is that the people who can least afford to give are the ones who donate the greatest percentage of their income. In 2011, the wealthiest Americans—those with earnings in the top 20 percent—contributed on average 1.3 percent of their income to charity. By comparison, Americans at the base of the income pyramid—those in the bottom 20 percent—donated 3.2 percent of their income. The relative generosity of lower-income Americans is accentuated by the fact that, unlike middle-class and wealthy donors, most of them cannot take advantage of the charitable tax deduction, because they do not itemize deductions on their income-tax returns.

Ken Stern, Why the Rich Don’t Give to Charity, The Atlantic, April 2013

I remember Jesus once observing a woman quietly slipping a few coins into the offering box at the temple’s entrance and then calling his disciples together with these words:

“I assure you that this poor widow has put in more than everyone who’s been putting money in the treasury. All of them are giving out of their spare change. But she from her hopeless poverty has given everything she had, even what she needed to live on” (Mark 12:43-44, CEB)

How is your spirit of generosity in these times?

One thought on “Spare Change Living and Giving

  1. What a powerful illustration of the covetousness of humankind. Jesus said that its harder for a rich man to enter heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. I believe its because money has become their false god of comfort, power, security, and prestige rather than Christ, and its hard for them to give this god up. Lets continue to pray that the rich would recognize their spiritual poverty without the gospel. Thanks for the well written article.

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