I know what you’re thinking – yet another article blaming millennials for all of society’s woes. Believe me, I’m as tired of it as you. If we’re not ‘refusing’ to buy homes, we’re apparently the reason shopping centres are closing. It feels like millennials are the most scapegoated generation of all time! Having said that, the other day I came across a statistic that stopped me in my tracks. Why are millennials giving less than everyone else?

A study for Tearfund by Barna Global

What gives?

My gut reaction was that maybe we have just got less to give. With student loans at an all time high and unaffordable housing emptying pockets, it’s a difficult time to donate. But if I’m being honest, I could probably save a bit more money if I resisted the urge for a drink on the go for example. The problem isn’t how much to give, it’s whether we’re giving at all. And as we learnt from the story of the widow’s mite in Mark 12, every little helps. (Do Tesco owe Jesus some royalties?)

Still I can’t help but think there’s more to it than a lack of money. Perhaps we’re more discerning about where our money goes than previous generations? There’s certainly been a rise in millenial-led ethical companies like People Tree, Know the Origin and Chilly’s, to name just a few. Although we may not be putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to donating, our spending habits could reveal a more generous outlook. Despite this, I can’t ignore that donations are still needed, particularly in the wake of natural disasters.

A different outlook

If I look at more of the stats, I do see some positive trends for millennials though. As well as believing in prayer the most, we are also the generation joint first when it comes to advocacy. These are both incredibly important if we’re going to see the world changed. Being generous with your time and energy in prayer and advocacy, is to call for the kingdom of God to be a present reality. We make way for a better world when our actions work towards justice holistically and not only through donations. That’s not to say money isn’t important. But I think our generation is striving to see a just world, where donations aren’t just a quick way to feel better about not challenging the lifestyles and structures that reinforce poverty.

A study for Tearfund by Barna Global

Give as good as you’ve got

I could go on for hours trying to figure out why millennials aren’t giving as much as previous generations. Some will argue I’m simply making excuses, but I think it’s important to look at the whole picture. Like we see in the story of the widow’s mite, Jesus isn’t impressed by people giving large sums of money. He’s more interested in the sacrifice of our giving. So ask yourself, just how much of yourself are you giving to see God’s kingdom in its fullness and poverty be eradicated? Maybe you could give more money, but you could also give more time in prayer. Perhaps you could invest your energy into advocating for those whose voices are ignored. Maybe like the loo roll in our ethical Christmas gift guide, you could ‘give a crap’ and live a more sustainable lifestyle that benefits people living everywhere.

Why not take a moment today, to ask God what areas you could be more generous in? Whatever it may be, make a decision not to be another negative statistic, but instead daringly respond to the call that God has given you.