My email inbox is loaded with pleas for money to help legitimate causes. The same organizations send mail through USPS into my property’s mailbox. The phone rings throughout the week with solicitors representing many non-profit groups. Grandchildren and neighborhood kids ask to be sponsored for school fundraisers. Churches encourage support for their special projects and favored missions.
I read letters with testimonies, which are distributed by worthy organizations that help people with life and death needs, and with distributing the gospel. After donating, they put me on a mailing list where I keep getting appeals every week or two. I’ve become desensitized with the number of requests bombarding me.
The apostle John questions your love if you don’t help those in need (1 John 3:17-18). Paul advised to “do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share” (1 Timothy 6:18). In Matthew 25:40, Jesus explains love in action, “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” And I feel guilty that I haven’t done enough.
How do I decide the amount of money to contribute, and to which charities? Remembering that we are stewards of God’s provision, I realize that it’s not really “my money.” God has shown our family very clearly that tithing to church is first, and every offering or donation is secondary. I wish my family’s income could support every laudable project, but it doesn’t, so I have to choose. By what criteria should I be making my choices?
Since the majority of people are unbelievers who don’t give to Christian causes, I choose to support my fellow believers in Christ and organizations that represent my Christian values (Galatians 6:10). I consider the payouts of the organizations to see how much of every dollar actually goes to aid people. Among the prudent ones, I respond when my spirit is stirred, and then deliberate over the amount.
Easy decisions are when disaster strikes and a local charitable business needs donations. Kingsport’s Hope House (abortion’s alternative) was recently flooded. Samaritan’s Purse helps people in crises throughout the world and shares the gospel. Occasionally, a relative or friend fundraises to go on a mission trip.
My dilemma is that I’ve been passionately moved by numerous requests and have become frustrated with the inability to address so many needs and good causes — fighting for justice concerning religious freedom and speech in America, distributing Bibles and food to those without, and providing shelter and the gospel to refugees. I am now overwhelmed. Consequently, the unopened mail is thrown in the trash and emails are deleted without even reading through them. But then I think of Jesus’ message to love others with action.
Do you love the Lord, want to please Him, and hear Him say, “well done good and faithful servant” when you see Him face to face? I’m relieved that He sees our hearts and minds besides our inactivity. The sin of omission is mentioned in Scripture, “whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me” (Matthew 25:45). The consequences of omission due to apathy or complacency, and the consequences of one’s selfless, compassionate deeds are also stated, “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life” (:46).
Being a good steward requires making choices. If we pray about which charities to support, and then choose one of them that tugs at our hearts, we are being obedient. And as long as we cheerfully give an “offering” (when able) with loving our Lord and neighbor in mind, we shouldn’t feel guilty about those requests that go unanswered. Yet, that’s easier said than done.
Are you a cheerful and generous giver? What factors are involved in your donations of money, possessions, service, and time?