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Research shows Americans are quite generous in giving to worthy causes, and the poor give a higher percentage of their income than the rich. Followers of Christ give much more of their income than non-Christians do; Christians also volunteer more than most. A recent survey found that 80% of Christians said they donated money in the previous 12 months, and 65% said they volunteered their time. Giving to the needy is one way to show compassion. When the Apostle Paul was encouraging God’s people to give for the poor people in Jerusalem, he set two examples before them. He pointed to other Christians who had already given generously, even though they were poor. By first giving themselves to the Lord, God guided them in how much to give. Then he cited God’s generosity in giving. He said, “You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.” It’s true that when we are in an intimate love relationship with our Lord, so much so that we identify with His purpose and program in the world, we become generous, although wise, in our giving.

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