Faith, Hope, and Charity

Starting in November and continuing throughout the holiday season, Salvation Army bell ringers are out with their kettles, collecting for the needy. Which got me to thinking of the following scenario-

Let’s say you’re going shopping at Macy’s and are greeted at the door by a uniformed bell ringer. He or she is a representative of the Salvation Army, a nonprofit that collects money and serves more than 25 million people across America. The funds collected during the holiday season, make an impact all year long.

So consider the following option:
Scene A: You are in a very good mood and because you’re feeling happy you are also feeling generous and give him 10 dollars.
Scene B: You are a religious man and your faith requires that you give charity so you give him 10 dollars.

Which one of these donors is preferable? Most folks would choose Scene A, because this man exemplifies kindness and consideration, whereas Scene B describes a man who is only giving because he is commanded to so.
And yet, the Bible states, “greater is he who acts because he is so commanded than he who acts of his own volition.”

At first glance this seems counterintuitive, but upon reflection it reveals a crucial insight into human nature. Scene A, describes a donor that is in a good mood. If and when his mood sours, he will in all likelihood not feel like giving, and therefore give nothing.

In contrast, in Scene B, no matter how the donor feels, he will give because he must give, and the commandment to give will transcend his personal feelings. His giving will not be sporadic, but consistent. His giving is an objective and not a subjective act.

Studies have shown that the religious population is more likely to give to charities than those who do not identify with a faith tradition. The latest studies have discovered that although religious affiliation and attendance at religious services in the USA is declining, those religious givers, continue to donate at a steady rate.

The study concludes that 62% of religious households donate to a variety of charities compared to 46% of households with no religious affiliation. Those who regularly attend services give more frequently and also donate to non-religious charitable causes.

The demographic benchmark to giving more charity is actually marriage. Married households were 62 percent more giving than single households in a 2011 study. However, religious practice is the primary behavioral variable that correlates to more giving.

Evangelical Protestants and Mormons are always at the top of charitable lists. The “giving ratio” is the dollar amount that individuals share out of what dollars they have available. The western states come out on top with Utah consistently being the #1 state based on the “giving ratio”.

The group that gives the least are cash strapped millennials. I’m certain that all their student loan debt has a major negative impact and clearly is a contributing factor.

With the start of the holiday season the Salvation Army bell ringers are a welcome sight for so many important reasons. Remember GrantWatch has many faith based grants available to one and all organizations.

About the Author: Jake Tewel holds a Masters Degree from YU, a wine seller, caterer and a million miler for the past 15 years. Jake is a best friend, great neighbor, your go to travel person, father, grandfather and loving husband. He is now focusing his efforts on heart healthy nutrition, exercise and travel.

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