The holiday season is getting ready to kick off with Thanksgiving coming up next week. In fact, considering the number of holiday activities that are already taking place, and the fact that stores have been promoting Thanksgiving and Christmas since before Halloween, it is well underway. For many this time of year is a whirlwind of shopping, decorating, cooking, get-togethers parties, and special events that can leave us exhausted!
Another aspect of this time of year is that we are inundated with requests to donate to various charities, non-profits, and ministries. It seems as if every time we turn around someone is asking for a donation for some cause or another. Charities and non-profits are busy this time of year soliciting donations because they know that people who don’t necessarily give throughout the year, may give at the end of the year as a tax deduction. You have probably received phone calls or letters from various charities asking for a donation, especially if you have given in the past.
A few years ago when I was on the Board of a local Mission, I was introduced to “Giving Tuesday”. Started in 2012 by a cultural center in NYC in collaboration with the United Nations Foundation, Giving Tuesday’s purpose is to encourage charitable contributions and promote generosity during the holiday season. It is also intended to make giving easier. Rather than writing checks to various entities, you can simply go to the website, pick your charity from a menu of participating groups, and plug in the amount of your donation and your payment information. Two of our children work for non-profits, so I have seen first-hand the amount of work that goes in to soliciting contributions on Giving Tuesday. Letters, emails, and social media blasts are sent out nearly every day in the weeks leading up to Giving Tuesday, hoping to draw attention to their specific charity or non-profit’s work, as well as their needs.
Solicitations from charities and non-profits are not the only ones asking for contributions. In our churches we are fundraising at this time of year for various ministries and missions we support. We receive requests from schools, social services, local charities, and global missions, in addition to our own ministries, seeking donations of one kind or another. Every time we turn around someone is asking for another donation. At some point it may seem like too much! Maybe at some point you have just said, “I’ve done enough. I’ve given enough. I just can’t do any more.”
I know. I’ve been there.
But then I remember how blessed I am. God has blessed me not because I deserve it, and not because I have earned it. God blesses me so that I can bless others. God means for His children to be a conduit of His blessing to others, for His sake and His glory, not ours. Let’s not forget, we can never out-give God. In Luke 6:38, Jesus shares one of the principles of the Kingdom of God:
The principle seems to be that God will bless us with the same measure we use to bless others. But it’s not about how much you give. Some have more to give than others. It’s all about our attitude in giving. Do we give cheerfully or reluctantly? Remember how Jesus commended the offering of the poor widow in Mark 12? She gave all that she had, while others gave out of their abundance. It was her willingness to honor God with what He had blessed her with, and her trust that He would continue to provide for her, that caused Jesus to declare that she had given more than all the others.
So my friends, use what God has blessed you with to bless others. Bake those cookies for the fundraiser, grab some extra groceries for the Blessing Box, buy the toys, the clothes, the school supplies, or whatever it is you’ve been asked to donate, and remember to support your favorite charity or ministry. Do what God is calling you to do to bless others, and remember – God loves a cheerful giver!
Grace and peace,
NOTE: Pastor Pam Sutherland’s charges include Fort Gibson United Methodist Church in Castldwood, VA and St. Paul United Methodist Church in St. Paul, VA.