Giving is such a vital part of the Christian life that I can’t imagine anyone ever becoming the person God wants them to be if they have not learned the grace of giving.
Earlier this week was “Giving Tuesday”— a new day on the calendar to refocus us after the mad rush of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I gave to several of my favorite missionaries and mission organizations. I encourage you to give to your favorite missions as well, but first, a few thoughts about giving.
“You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving,” said Amy Carmichael, a heroic missionary to India in the early 20th century. How true! This was modeled by none other than our heavenly Father who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16).
It was modeled by Jesus who, although He was rich, become poor for our sakes (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Giving of ourselves and our resources has been the practice of men and women of God throughout the ages.
In my early Christian life, I had a job but very few needs and responsibilities. I made it a practice to give away much of what I earned — sometimes up to my entire paycheck. Jesus said my heart would follow where I put my treasure (Matthew 6:21), and I wanted my heart to be with God. And it worked! The more I invested in the work of the kingdom, the more I grew to love the King! Forty years later, I still give faithfully to my church and generously to missionaries who have forsaken all to follow Christ. I’m a richer man for it!
But I’m also on the receiving end. Our ministry does require funds in order to function. We have individuals that give hundreds of dollars each month to our ministry. God has given them resources to be this generous, and they form a vital base for our work. We also have people who give just a few dollars a month. These folks have fewer resources, but they demonstrate the heart of a true disciple by giving what they can. And many a time when we had a spending decision to make, I thought about the sacrifice made by those who had so little to give but chose to invest it in our ministry, thus helping us to be frugal and careful to not waste the funds entrusted to us.
And then, I go to India. One time, after preaching, several elderly women approached me, asked for prayer and slipped some money into my hand. They’re poor. They would be lucky to make a dollar a day. I didn’t want to take their money and tried not to receive it, but my host whispered in my ear that it was important for me to do so and that it would be rude to refuse their offering. When I got back to my hotel, I counted up what was given to me and found it to be a couple of dollars. Certainly not enough to pay my plane ticket to India, but enough for them to leave a lasting impact on my life. They didn’t have much, but they gave what they could — and they’re better Christians for it and so am I.
I hope you have discovered the grace of giving. If it’s not yet a part of your life, you don’t know what you’re missing! Wait no longer! Become a giver!
Personally, here’s how I decide where to give my money:
- I faithfully give to my local church
- I give to those from whose ministry and teaching I have benefited
- I give to those who are advancing the gospel of Christ.
- I give to those who are suffering and needy
- I give where I trust the integrity of those who receive my gift
- Most importantly, I pray and ask God’s guidance on where to give
Of course, our ministry is supported by the gifts of people just like you. Some are able to give large amounts, some smaller amounts. Some commit to a monthly gift, others give periodically. If you have benefitted from our work and believe in what we are doing to advance the gospel, and if God leads you to give to our ministry, you can do so here http://www.tomthepreacher.com/#!support/c1wc9.
May God bless you and make you a blessing to others!