To all of you visiting today from my devotion today, welcome! If you’re a first time visitor, welcome and a big, southern cyber-hug to you!! Would you leave me a comment to tell me where you’re from and a little something you think I should know about you? I truly want to meet you “personally”!
Your comment today will enter you for one of my favorite books in the whole wide world, so make sure to read to the end and to comment whether you’re a new or old friend. 🙂
Just to give you an backstage view of the Proverbs 31 devotions, we writers have a deadline for devotions two months before they actually run. Because I write devotions so far in advance (and because I have a terrible memory), it never fails that I’m surprised by my own words. In fact, many times my devotions run just in time for a fresh reminder in my life.
That certainly happened with this month’s devotion. Here’s the sentence that pierced my heart:
“Sometimes I was reluctant to give because I felt too consumed by my every day schedule. Other times, I felt the pinch of need in my own life. And occasionally it was because I’d become jaded toward the recipients of my help.”
Ouch! In fact, I’ve been feeling that reluctance just this week. I also could add some other reasons to be reluctant to give. How about…?
- It’s really close to Christmas. I need to save that money for gifts for my family.
- I have kids in college. God understands about tuition, right?
- I’m already giving in other places. One more? Really, God?
I’m just keepin’ it real here. I’ll bet y’all are better people than me, but maybe, just maybe, you’ve thought some of those things too?
Even though I have reasons that seem legitimate and that would make others say, “You’re so right. I understand!” that hasn’t been God’s response. He has a giving project in mind for me, and He every-so-gently keeps tugging at my heart, pushing through my excuses and reminding me that…
[Tweet “Giving is always a blessing to the giver in the end.”]
I know it’s true not only because I’ve experienced it myself but because that’s the kind of God we serve. He’s a giver extraordinaire. He gives generously, and He loves to give. Scripture tells us those truths. God encourages us to be like Him.
But there’s one big obstacle that has been keeping me from following God in His giving character. On top of all the other excuses I generate, there are a couple of questions that plague me. What if I give to the wrong place/person/organization? What if I contribute to more harm than good?
I haven’t figured it all out yet, but I want to share with you from what I’ve been learning as the Coordinator of International Initiatives for Proverbs 31 Ministries. It’s one of the most exciting roles I’ve ever taken on, and I’m immensely proud that our ministry is giving so generously. I have to share that it’s scary, though. My team and I feel the huge responsibility of giving wisely.
Here are some practical steps toward wise giving we’ve taken that you can take as well:
- Prayerfully make a list of your priorities. Ask yourself what passions God has laid on your heart? For example, at Proverbs 31, we know that God has given us a call to end biblical poverty. What has God called you to do with your giving? Address hunger? End slavery? Stop abuse? There’s usually not one thing, so make a list.
- Research organizations that match up to your callings. For Proverbs 31, it was important to us that we find an organization that prioritizes scripture like we do. That’s why we were so thrilled to be partnered with Mission India’s literacy classes this year! Find an organization that has a heartbeat like yours.
- Check your organization’s reputation. This is super-important. A friend just had her heart broken when she learned that an organization she had been contributing to for years had been pocketing most of the money her family gave instead of doing the ministry they promised. You can look up your organization on these accountability sites: Charity Navigator and Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.
- Ask to speak to someone on staff. This might feel awkward, but I believe it’s an important final decision-making step. Organizations should be happy to speak to potential donors to answer their questions no matter the size of the gift. If they won’t, I would count that as a disqualifier. If they will, pray that God will give you discernment as you speak with them. There’s a lot that websites don’t say, but a representative should be able to give you a clear vision of the work they’re doing.
After we’ve taken all those steps, we can confidently say as Rita’s mom said, “My responsibility isn’t in the receiving. My responsibility is in the giving!”
I want to give YOU some gifts today! First, there’s the giveaway. One of my favorite books both about the gift of giving (sometimes you become the biggest recipient before you know it!!) is The Same Kind of Different as Me, the true story of a friendship between a wealthy art dealer and a man who had been homeless most of his life.
Denver Moore & Ron Hall
Leave a comment about giving to enter, or if you’re on the run, simply say “I embrace the gift of giving!”
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