I study the issue of generosity a good bit. Since my own ministry depends upon the generosity of Christians I need to understand how to respond to issues that relate to charitable giving. Thus, I confess that I was a bit surprised when I learned a few weeks ago that the year-end IRS statistics about giving in America reveal that the poorest in our society are in fact the most generous givers.
Each year IRS compiles statistics about household giving. The most recent figures, for 2003, show the following:
1. Households with adjusted gross incomes of $10,000 to $15,000 gave 11.6 percent to charity.
2. Households with incomes of $50,000 to $55,000 gave 4 percent.
3. Households with incomes of $200,000 to $500,000 gave only 2.5 percent.
Regardless of what you how you break down giving among other income levels what is most surprising is that the families in the lowest income levels are the ones that gave a tithe or more, on average.
The second amazing thing I noted in this data was that there is