If your inbox is somewhat like mine this weekend, you would know that this weekend isn’t like every other weekend in this world.
Brick and mortar stores are trying to entice me to their stores with Black Friday specials.
Online stores are promising me the most amazing bargains on Cyber Monday.
AND charities and missionaries are once again asking for my generous donations!
Giving Tuesday, as it’s known in the U.S., is just around the corner, and so to are the appeals for money. Whether it’s through an email, social media, or a person on your street corner, it seems that everybody is asking for your dollars.
(For those located outside of the U.S.- Giving Tuesday is a day where people are encouraged to focus on giving. It started in America primarily to combat the phenomenal levels of spending, consuming, and taking that happen in the days proceeding Thanksgiving.)
So, how should you respond to such appeals for funds? Whether it’s Giving Tuesday or any other day ending in “y”, requests for donations are certainly common place these days, especially with sites that promise to kick start your campaign or fund you through the crowd…
Here’s what I will not do; tell you how you should respond.
However, what I am going to suggest to you is how you could respond.
1. Respond prayerfully and listen to your heart. We are given countless opportunities to give to good causes. The real question is, “What’s the God cause?” What cause, if any, does your heart skip a beat for, do you feel led to give to? Friends often ask about our finances (for we ourselves are missionaries) and they ask how they can help. I often respond, “Ask Holy Spirit. If He wants you to help, do. If He doesn’t, please please please don’t.”
Never feel guilty for following that still small voice of God that says “don’t give”, or “do give”.
2. Know that giving is an honor, not an obligation. If you’re going to give, don’t give out of guilt or duty. Give because it brings you joy. I know it sounds strange, as dollars are dollars, but I’d prefer $5 from a friend with a smile than $1,000 from a friend with a frown.
3. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. When approached for a donation it can be tempting to think or even say, “I work hard for this money, I’m not going to give it to some missionary! Why doesn’t this person get a real job?”
Let me straight,
it’s because they already have one.
Sharing Jesus’ love is a real job, worth a real wage. Jesus said in Luke 10:7, when speaking to those who He had sent out to share the gospel of the Kingdom of God,
“…Stay in one place, eating and drinking what they provide. Don’t hesitate to accept hospitality, because those who work deserve their pay.”
Just because the job of a missionary looks different to yours, doesn’t mean that it isn’t work. I know many a missionary that stay up late into the night preaching the gospel, praying for the sick, caring for widows, loving orphans and feeding the poor. They aren’t in an office, they aren’t “on the clock”, but they are working and making a difference in what they do. They will hesitate to call their calling “work”, because you may say that they’re unspiritual or ungrateful, but what they do can be as challenging and as draining as any other profession.
4. Give more than money. Next time you see a request for money, and you feel led to contribute, give more than money. Ask the person how you might also pray for them. Ask them how their kids are, ask them how their week is. I know from experience that dollars keep you operational, but prayers and friendship is what keeps you full.
May God bless you as you prayerfully consider how to respond to those in need this “Giving Tuesday” and any other day.