Giving Tuesday

2 Corinthians 9: 6 – 9             NLT

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop. You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say, “They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.”

Today is giving Tuesday and we can each ask what that means to us. For some of us it has no bearing at all. We are able to pass over it without it affecting our thoughts. Others of us feel pressured to give and we don’t want to. Then there are those who embrace giving.

Secondly, regardless of which group we find ourselves in, what is it that we think of giving? Most people are going to think that someone wants them to give money. Money is our medium of exchange these days and the easiest thing to give. It isn’t all we have to give though, so maybe our personal conversation needs to be about what we have to give that we want to give. Romans 12: 6 – 8 is illustrative on this point.

As the situation with covid-19 infections continues it is not surprising that people are becoming less tolerant, less patient and less circumspect. It seems there is less of a sense of camaraderie and charity. So, today is an opportunity to pause and ask ourselves where we stand. Is there room left in our hearts for charity? Or, is it time to turn our attentions to ourselves? Does giving to others have a place when so many of us are either unemployed or working at a reduced salary? If you want to make a gift of abilities or money, to what organization or group would be blessed by your outreach? Would a small gift help anyone? Is it worth your time?

These questions are best answered by you but here is what I would add. Don’t give to anyone if you don’t feel it in your heart? This should be a moment of worship between you and your Father. Do it with Him or don’t do it at all. Second, there are many opportunities to give. Just about everyone could use a hand right now and most organizations have experienced decreased revenue. Don’t forget your church and the ministries which support you. Though services are not being held, expenses continue and many churches and ministries have increased their expenditures in trying to support people during this crisis.

Don’t let fear rule you, don’t let guilt be your guide, but if you find it in your will to do something for someone else today, that would be great. Take a moment to ask your Heavenly Father to be in this with you. Whom or what organization would He like to bless? How can the two of you do something that will be meaningful to you? Though some people won’t tell you this, your giving should be a blessing to you too. It should feel good inside to reach out to others. And last, if you want to do something but are concerned about your own income, don’t feel bad about making a small gift. Give according to your faith, not someone else’s. There are also non-monetary gifts. Let the Lord lead you and have a good time with your giving.

The Greater Blessing

Acts 20: 35

“In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

Do you really believe that? We have heard this expression all our lives and we have each experienced those moments when giving something to someone else really did bless us but, do we actually believe this statement in our hearts?

Sometimes I think the world is divided into two groups, the givers and the takers. It seems sometimes that people do not flow from function to function but rather remain fixed in their group. I have observed folks who are accomplished givers. They think of things the rest of us would never have considered. It isn’t that we wouldn’t do some of the same acts if we thought of them, we just never think of others that sincerely. We live in a society that tells us to “Get all you can for yourself” and “He who dies with the most toys wins.” This is not the Christian ethic so there are warring messages inside of us. To which of these voices will we surrender?

I want to send out encouragement today in the hopes that the result will be each of us looking around for someone to give to. Proverb 19: 17 reads, “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.” I would venture to say that anytime you give to others, whether or not they be poor, God is well pleased. The way I see it, that provides a number of motivators for giving. First, it pleases God. Second, it is like giving to the Lord. And third, self-interest is advanced. Don’t think the third one is “dirty”. God rewards his kids and it is His pleasure to do so. Besides, isn’t self-interest the reason most of us are not more generous in the first place? 

I honestly believe that this “giving thing” is a real big deal to our Father. We are supposed to be like Him and we all know that He is a giver. Additionally, we are told that kindness is one of the traits we are supposed to exhibit (Gal. 5: 22) and the verse from Proverbs makes me think that kindness leads to charity. Charity is part of a generous heart.

Here is what I would like to suggest. Let us all give something today. Let’s just all unite in a spirit of giving for this one day. Find some way to give something to someone. Now here is a thought. Make it personal. The easiest thing to do is to give to a national charity. Now, there is nothing wrong with that but it doesn’t require much of us personally. It would be really great if we could all do something for someone where we can look them in the eye or make some kind of personal contact. We should endeavor to give out of our hearts not our pocketbooks. The two can go together but the former cannot be overlooked. One other caveat . . . I learned this from Joyce Meyer; don’t just give away something that you don’t want or are done with anyway. Give something meaningful. It does not have to be expensive but it should come from that good place inside of you. Maybe it is nothing more than buying someone in the break room a drink. It doesn’t have to be big but you should extend yourself out of your comfort zone a little bit.  

Open your eyes and look at the world a little differently. Look for ways to bless folks. I am hoping that you will have a lot of fun. I am also hoping that you will write me this evening telling me how you were blessed.