‘Give It Up’ for Giving!

4 Feb

Some people are total tightwads. Mr. Jacobson decided to take a week off from the pressures of the office and went skiing. Alas, no sooner did he reach the slopes than he heard an ominous rumbling: moments later a sheet of snow came crashing toward him.

Pinching Pennies

R U a Giver, or...?

Fortunately, Mr. Jacobson was able to jump into a cave just before the avalanche hit. Just as fortunately, he had matches with him and was able to light a fire.

Hours later, when everyone but Mr. Jacobson had returned, a rescue team was sent to search for him.

After several hours they saw smoke curling from the cave and went to investigate.

Poking his head into the entrance, one of the rescuers yelled, “Mr. Jacobson, are you there? It’s the Red Cross.”

Bristling, the harried executive yelled, “Get lost. I gave at the office!” *

Do you, like this executive, ever feel like people are pestering you on all sides to give, give, give? Perhaps you’re frustrated because your resources are limited, and you can only give so much. I want to encourage you to give it up. And I don’t mean to give up on giving.

Have you ever heard an announcer at a banquet or a church leader at a meeting say, “Give it up for…” – meaning, “Let’s all applaud (whatever).”

I want to encourage you to “give it up for giving.” Get excited and applaud your opportunities to give and give out of the resources God has given you.

Happy GiverGod wants us to be cheerful givers (2 Corinthians 9:7b). He wants us to have open hands, not clenched fists, when it comes to the in-and-out of funds. But that doesn’t mean we are supposed to give to everything. God wants us to be wise givers, wise savers, wise investors … wise stewards.

You can’t give to everyone who holds out a hand; and you shouldn’t even give to everything that moves your heart.  Giving is about more than pressure and emotions.

So, how do you decide where to give? Here are seven helpful tips:

First, pray and ask God to give you wisdom. Perhaps, if you’ve received many pleas by mail (especially around Thanksgiving and Christmas, with special  year-end giving appeals), you might want to spread them out on your kitchen table and ask God to show you which ones to eliminate immediately so you can pray more intentionally about those that are left.

Second, pray for a compassionate heart.If you struggle with giving, ask God to show you why. Is it stinginess or selfishness? Is there a fear at the root of your hesitance? Are you judgmental (making assumptions) about those who seek your help? Do you have a proud, “I can take care of myself; so should they!” attitude? Ask God to clear up these problems so you can move freely and with compassion when He lays something on your heart.

Third, consider your budget. Have you given to God first? Your tithe? Are you supporting your church and its ministries? Are you faithfully paying your bills? What is left as discretionary spending for giving appeals? (If you struggle with finances, consider a ministry like Crown Ministries or Dave Ramsey’s program to get things back in shape.)

Fourth, determine those that you either have some relationship with (perhaps a loved one in ministry), or a special burden for in some way. Consider the different categories of outreach – evangelism, foreign missions, humanitarian or crisis aid, local concerns like a homeless shelter, intervention (such as with sex-trafficking), etc. Make sure the agency you give to is reputable. (For example, study a bit to determine how they use donations. Every organization has expenses, but how much do they use to actually help others?)

Fifth, if you find that you have little money for giving “extra” to Jar of Moneyministries or service outreaches, think through where you spend your non-essential funds. Is there something simple that you can cut out (even for a short time) to have money to share? Where can you make a sacrifice to meet a need and make a difference in even one life?

Sixth, if you simply cannot give more, don’t let the Enemy put you on a guilt trip. Most Americans are richer than those in third-world countries, and perhaps we need to re-evaluate our priorities; but sometimes, we just can’t give more at this season in our lives.  Perhaps we can give out of our poverty… that’s a private matter with God. (And don’t overlook “matching funds” many companies have – double your donation!)

Seventh, don’t overlook non-financial giving. You may have a resource someone desperately needs. You may have something extra that someone can’t afford to buy. (One of my friends noticed that she had reams and reams of typing paper. She offered some to a teacher who was strapped for school supplies. Another friend knew that a family was struggling with groceries. She looked at her stuffed pantry and decided to share.)

This post is simple. I could discuss many scriptures on giving that most of us have heard during stewardship messages (like Deuteronomy 16:17; Luke 6:38; Acts 20:35; and 2 Corinthians 9:6-7),  but today, I’m just encouraging everyone to “Give it up for giving.” Do what you can. Move out of your comfort zone, perhaps. Get creative. And honor God in the grace of giving.

 

* http://www.basicjokes.com/djoke.php?id=1105

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One Response to “‘Give It Up’ for Giving!”

  1. Sharon G. February 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    Living, quite literally, by the grace of God (we have 7 mouths to feed and one income) the opportunity to give, with the exception of our tithe, is rare indeed. We have instead been doing just as you suggested. We give of our time where we can – mainly helping on the Worship team at church (I sing, my husband does sound board). However, when God does bless us with a little extra, as He does on occasion, it is such a thrill to use that money for something for someone else. Giving is always better than getting, though it can be frustrating when you feel like you have nothing to give. But time and talents, I think, are often better offers of giving than anything else.

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