“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give” once said the British statesman and Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
Today we are reminded of the importance of giving on #GivingTuesday. This is the 5th year of this “global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration.” From their web page, here’s more information about this national day of giving.
“Observed on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.
“Since its inaugural year in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources.”
Giving is good. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Ax 20:35). As you think about this challenge, consider these 3 questions.
(1) Who Can I help?
In the Bible there is an emphasis on helping the poor, widows, orphans and those in real need who are vulnerable. (Jas. 1:27; Ax 2:32-37; 6:1-6). Organizations that meet the needs of people deserve our support.
The Bible instructs, “let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:14). While every request is linked to a need, not all needs are legitimate, nor are they pressing. It requires some thought, wisdom and discretion to determine what needs are a priority.
As you consider a worthy need, remember the words of Albert Pike. “What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
(2) How much can I give?
First of all, you can’t give what you don’t have. The Bible says, “Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have” (2Cor. 8:12-13).
We are commanded to provide for our families, pay our debts and fund the operation of government through taxes (1 Tim.5:8; Rom. 13:7-8) There is a time in everyone’s life when there’s nothing left over. Regardless of how worthy the cause, or the willingness of our heart, we should meet our personal obligations first before giving to others.
1 Corinthians 16:2 teaches that we should give based on our prosperity. One version says, “in keeping with his income.” Not everyone can give the same amount. Income and ability vary from person to person. In fact, personal prosperity changes in one’s lifetime, and may even vary year to year or month to month.
Few are able to give in the amounts of a Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, but we can give something. Maybe not even money. But through volunteerism, we can give our time and effort to a worthwhile cause.
(3) What is my motive?
Regarding our contributions to the Lord, we are directed to give as we have purposed, “not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2Cor 8:9). A willing, cheerful and eager attitude ought to characterize all of our giving.
The Albanian nun, Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu, known to the world as “Mother Teresa” once said, It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.” Or as the 19th century American poet James Russell Lowell put it, “the gift without the giver is bare.”
All giving and good done by Christians ought to be to God’s glory, not our personal aggrandizement “Do everything to the glory of God” is a good principle to live by (1 Cor 10:31).
Norma Jean and I have chosen 3 groups that we believe in and regularly support –a college, a foundation, and a medical research project. We encourage our readers to consider your financial ability, opportunities, and priorities, then give accordingly. After all, as Francis of Assisi said, “It is in giving that we receive.”
–Ken Weliever, ThePreacherman