I love the spirit of generosity at Christmastime. It’s just easier to give this time of year. Most of us are out buying presents anyway and with all that money flowing so freely from our pocketbooks, what’s a little extra, right? But it’s also easy to get overwhelmed by all those asking for donations.
There’s the Salvation Army bucket, Angel Tree, Christmas for needy families, toys for foster children, meals for the homeless, crisis care for those hit by natural disasters. Sometimes I feel like the little boy on the beach littered with stranded starfish; the need is so great and I am so small.
Recently I read a giving plan that’s perfect for this season, and all year round. It takes the pressure off December, with solid pointers on how to consistently and effectively give to meet the tremendous needs around us. It begins with our attitude.
Be Eager, Cheerful Givers (2 Cor. 8:10; 2 Cor. 9:7)
This may sound like a no brainer, but how many times do we give because we feel obligated or coerced into giving? Even worthy causes can make us feel pressured, because the promoters are passionate about what they’re doing. And they’re probably doing a terrific job. But since we can’t give to every good cause, we need to ask God to lead us to the ones we can give to with joy and compassion.
Finish What You Start; Give Within Your Means (2 Cor. 8:11-12)
These are irrevocably connected. It’s easy to make promises in response to an emotional appeal, but it’s no good if we don’t follow through. Well meaning pledges don’t feed the hungry, give medical aid, or hope to those ravaged by despair. So we need to truly care about the needs of others, and give thought to our commitments.
Influence Others (2 Cor. 9:2)
One great thing about generosity is it’s contagious. When one person gives with joy, others will follow and the results are incredible. Even if you feel your contribution won’t go very far compared to the need, just think how much it will add up if others give that same amount or more. Even our loose change can make a profound difference if we’re willing to pitch in.
Plan Ahead; Don’t Wait for Reminders (1 Cor. 16:1-2; 2 Cor. 9:5)
This is where it gets fun! If you set aside a little bit from every paycheck and designate it for giving, you will always have a little bit available when needs arise. For instance, every Sunday our growth group takes a Sunday school offering as well as one for the Voice of the Martyrs, which serves the needs of persecuted believers worldwide. But this Sunday there was also a collection for our church staff, requests for money to send out Crisis Care Kits, a sign up to help with the Christmas brunch, and a list of food and gifts to supply for a needy family in our community. I started to glaze over, until I remembered, “Oh yeah, Kelly and I have money in our giving fund so we can give a little to all of these needs.” Planning ahead gives us freedom to give spontaneously.
Make an Investment that Lasts (2 Cor. 9:6, 10)
Food and clothing don’t last, but it’s hard for people to trust God for eternity when they are hungry, cold, and homeless. So when we share from our abundance with others who have little or nothing, we show God’s love in tangible ways that make an eternal difference.
Trust God to Supply (2 Cor. 9:8-11)
If we wait until Christmas when we’re already stretching every dollar to buy presents and special treats for our family it can get frustrating. But when we trust God to supply all our needs and do what we can, people’s needs will be met and we can give far beyond what we ever imagined possible.
How can you put these scriptural principles to work: In Your Community, In Your Family, Around the World?
#Christmasgiving #spiritofgiving #feedthehungry #poorandneedy #seasonalgiving #yearroundgiving