Thanksgiving Tuesday

Luke 6: 38

Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.

Today is giving Tuesday. It has been harder for generous people to give this year. Some of the places where you volunteered time were shut down for months. Some programs are still struggling for volunteers. Many, many charitable organizations have suffered tremendously. While some people have been able to buy a takeout meal at a local restaurant to help sustain the restaurant during these troubled times, non-profit organizations have not had the same opportunities. Churches and ministries have been among those most hurt by the coronavirus. We have all been, truly, living on faith.

At the same time, many ministries and churches are experiencing higher than normal costs. Money has, needfully, been invested into websites and online platforms. The cost of sending out God’s Word has escalated while revenues have plummeted. On this day, a day dedicated to giving, the balance sheet can be impacted for great good.

This year I am explicitly asking you to give to ministries. Giving Tuesday is about giving to organizations doing all kinds of good works. They are all worthy. How can one say that St. Jude, or the MS Society or any of the other great organizations are not doing great work? They are! But, where is the church in our giving plan? This Giving Tuesday I want to make it about what Christians can do for all the ministries that have been working so very hard this year to keep believers built up and encouraged. Ministers have suffered in their own spirits crying out to God for the words which would help believers during this challenging time. It is the closest most of us will ever come to sweating blood.

I want you to know that your pastors and ministers have toiled on your behalf and prayed their throats almost raw. It has been a tough year to be a minister, but I cannot think of a year when the job has been more important. So, this year I am asking you to bless the ministers and pastors in your life and the organizations through which they serve. It is a day to show appreciation and to encourage those who have tried so valiantly to encourage you over the last many months. Let your heart of compassion well up within you to show your appreciation and love. And may your gifts be multiplied back to you a hundredfold.

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.