Every email I receive around this time of year is either talking about the "#GivingTuesday" that is after Thanksgiving...or the Year End Giving. Honestly, it makes me sick to my stomach to write such an email to anyone I know--or even to those I don't know! Sure, we are missionaries, and we depend on the generosity and sacrificial giving of people to keep our ministry going, but I really struggle with this extra focus on the money! Here are a couple of reasons why:
1. We Christians are called to be generous people. We don't give because it's convenient, and we shouldn't give because we get a tax-deductible receipt. No, we give because we have been given so much in Christ! We can never repay the debt He payed for us on the cross. In fact, we are told by the Apostle Paul that our God will supply all our needs according to his glorious riches, which are found in Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:19). I cling to that each and every day being a missionary; God will provide for my family's needs, somehow, and I believe his Word!
2. We Christians shouldn't bow to the cultural pressures of "giving" in a politically correct way. Who decided that the Tuesday after Thanksgiving was a great way of raising extra funds for the slow winter season? As if the "end of year" requests we all get bombarded with weren't enough already? If we are going to give, we should give wholeheartedly, out of joy, not out of pressure.
3. We Christians should PLAN our giving as much as possible, allowing for extra funds for spontaneous giving, if possible. We are called to be generous people, and shouldn't be pressured or "guilted" into giving, so make a PLAN to give regularly to the things you value, but especially to those activities that will earn you a reward in Heaven. We are told not to store up treasures on earth, but to store up treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-20)--that which will last for eternity!
The only place it seems these requests we get so often for Giving Tuesday and year-end stuff would fit into my reasons for struggling with this is that I should be ready to give spontaneously if possible. However, this leads me to my fourth point:
4. We Christians should educate ourselves on what is worthwhile of our investments/giving. With so much information in the palm of our hands via our smartphones, we know of so much need around the world. Earthquakes, floods, drought, refugee crises, missionary efforts, and all the local needs such as the local food pantry and homeless shelter in our towns/cities are ever-present on the news. How do we not get overwhelmed by all the need? We can't respond to everything! What I believe we need to do is pray about what we should invest in/give to, give wholeheartedly to it, and intercede through prayer for the other needs we can't financially give to.
When I have done this, I have a peace that only God can give me because I know I am planning wisely, giving generously, and making an impact for eternity. I hope it can help you navigate this season of "giving"and beyond.
And, no, I'm not including a link to give to our ministry. What would be the point of me writing this if I did? If you wanted that, you could've asked me for it. Your job is to educate yourself and ask questions...remember?