Your Opportunity to Make a Difference
As we come to the end of another year, each of us has opportunity to make a real difference by sharing the resources God has blessed us with this year. With innumerable needs and ministries, how do you determine which causes are worth of your financial support? In light of the biblical principles of Christian stewardship, what should you consider when giving before year-end? Let me share four principles that should help.
1. God’s Plan First
When you begin from the point that God owns it all and we are simply stewards of those resources, it makes it easier to be generous (see Genesis 2:15; Psalm 24:1–2; and 2 Corinthians 9:8). Be committed to God’s plan first. When you understand the broader biblical principles of Christian stewardship, you realize that your resources are not your own, they are the Lord’s.
One of the greatest examples of our spiritual maturity is responding to God in obedience. He is looking for us to be faithful, sacrificial stewards with all he has entrusted to us.
2. Church Priority
The example we see demonstrated in the New Testament is God’s people giving to their local church. Time after time, the Apostle Paul taught this as normal behavior for the Christ follower. Most likely, you are facing dozens of year-end solicitations for giving to many worthwhile opportunities. While you should pray through opportunities to be generous, never exchange any gift for your Christian giving responsibility to your local church.
3. Look for High Impact
All of us desire to make a high impact in life. Dr. Jason Allen once said, “Don’t give to fill ditches. Give to build mountains.” All organizations have valleys and mountains related to their needs and challenges. Beware of any group that is perpetually raising funds in crisis. Look at the pattern of the organization over a number of years. Is there a consistent history of making a significant difference as an organization? If not, it is best not to give with the “hope” things will be different.
Instead, explore organizations that have a history of good financial management. In addition, seek out ministries where your gift has the potential of expanding beyond the present. Look for your gift to make a long-term difference and not simply a short-term impact.
4. Be Supportive of the Mission
Finally, be completely informed and supportive of the cause and organization you want to support. Do their beliefs and practices line up with your understanding of God’s Holy Word, the Bible? How will the organization use your gift? As the donor and a steward of God’s resources, it is your responsibility to be aware of what is promoted publicly and sensitive to what is not said. Be supportive of the mission, but be well informed before donating.
To be a Christian steward requires more than generous giving. It must include wise and discerning giving as well. The power to give is the power to influence the transformation of lives. For many Christian organizations, your gift can change eternity for the lives of individuals who come to faith in Christ.
One of the greatest characteristics for a Christian is to be generous. However, let your generosity be saturated with prayer and wisdom as you are a steward of all God has entrusted to you.
This year you have the opportunity to make a difference. Give, and give generously.