CHARITABLE GIVING: A Message Just for You

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As the economic conditions have gotten worse, appeals from charitable organizations seem to be increasing. Unfortunately, the fraudulent and irresponsible organizations are also increasing. Therefore, it behooves every committed Christian to be more conscientious than ever regarding the stewardship of his or her resources. Let me offer you some suggestions about your charitable giving.

Most financial appeals are directed toward either your intellect or your emotions. Often the appeal makes sense and appears to be going to a good cause. Evidence may even be offered about how productive the investment is. Therefore, you may be prone to conclude that the only logical thing to do is give to such a worthy cause. Emotional appeals, on the other hand, tend to make you want to give out of a sense of duty or pity. These appeals frequently leave you feeling so deeply touched that you feel guilty if you don’t give.

There is certainly a place for legitimate intellectual and emotional appeals. The Lord did say a person should count the cost. And He Himself was moved with compassion when He saw the condition of the multitudes. But while emotional and intellectual factors do play a part, they should not be the determinate factor.

What then should motivate your giving? In James 4:15 we are instructed to do that which the Lord directs according to His will. The prophets spoke as they were moved by the Spirit of God (II Peter 1:21). We are told in Romans 8:14 that in order to live as God’s sons we must be led of God’s Spirit. A true servant of God, according to Romans 6: 17, is one who obeys God from the heart. Finally, 2 Corinthians 5:7 tells us we are to walk by faith not by sight.

To merely respond to an emotional or intellectual appeal is to walk by sight. The only appeal to whichimages you are obligated is the one God makes to your heart by His Spirit! Although God may appeal to your emotions and intellect to get your attention, it is the still small voice of the Spirit that you must respond to. May God grant you the wisdom and discernment necessary to give according to His will, under the leadership of His Spirit!

Dr. Lewis Gregory ©2005

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