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Giving By Guilt

It is that time of year again. Thanksgiving and the holidays are before us and various organizations are asking for some type of contribution. At Providence, alone, we have the Madison County Sherriff’s Chaplain Corp, Operation Christmas Child, Lunches of Love, the Downtown Rescue Mission and Lottie Moon, not to mention the 50/50 fund and regular tithe. With so many requests, it can seem like the church is bleeding your dry. How does one navigate what to do, especially if there is so little to give?

Let me share two thoughts. First, all of the opportunities to give are worthy of our attention and notice. Each of these ministries are doing good work within our community and internationally. And we think it is good for you to be aware of the opportunities to participate in the work of these organizations.

But second, and most importantly, it is not up to you to sustain all the Lord’s work throughout the world. God is the one who empowers his people and his own work. He owns everything, it is all under his domain. As Abraham Kuyper is noted for saying, ‘There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!” He owns all of the resources. God is not dependent un us to keep his work going.

However, he does give us opportunities to participate in his work as a matter of faithfulness. If you have resources at your disposal that you can share, then be faithful by releasing it for the service of God so that he might prove that he can still satisfy your needs. If you are able to give, then give. If not, then don’t feel guilty. And as Paul, points out in 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 (ESV) 6  The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7  Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8  And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 9  As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” 10  He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11  You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. 12  For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 13  By their approval of this service, they will glorify God because of your submission that comes from your confession of the gospel of Christ, and the generosity of your contribution for them and for all others, 14  while they long for you and pray for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you. 15  Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!

Don’t let the opportunities to give overwhelm you. Don’t allow guilt to rob you of the joy of giving. As the Lord lays upon your heart how much you should give and what you should give, be faithful, in your obedience. But don’t begrudge the various opportunities that we can magnify the name of Christ in our giving.