We can empathize with those who may have a negative
attitude. Every American already knows what it is to wade through bushels of
junk mail jammed in their mailbox daily, and Christian people are especially
inundated with appeals for money. Most Christian programs on TV or radio
spend a lot of attention on heart-wrenching pleas for offerings, and if you
subscribe to Christian periodicals or send donations to various radio or TV
ministers, you're probably used to receiving their numerous monthly appeal
letters. In addition, your name and address has likely been passed on to
other ministries or charities, seeking eligible contributors. We then go to
church and give our tithes and offerings to the Lord, but may hear more
appeals for other worthwhile projects: the building program, local
evangelism, the support of missionaries, the youth group, the poor, the
needy, etc. Gimmee, gimmee, gimmee. It seems to never stop.
It's not surprising why people have become weary with
constant appeals for money — we really can't blame them. But at the same
time, we must be careful not to become critical and abandon the spreading of
the Gospel because of the abuses of a few. It is crucial that the message of
Jesus Christ be delivered to the world. It is a matter of their life or
death! "Let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way
will save a soul from death..." (James 5:20).
Many become offended by ministries who appeal for
financial support because they simply don't understand how important it is
for the message of the Gospel to reach the masses, and how costly that can
be. You see, the Bible says that our world is lost in sin, destined to burn
for eternity in hell, and only the Gospel can avert this tragedy. The Lord
is... "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to
repentance" (2 Pet 3:9).
Out of His love for us, God sent His own son, Jesus,
as a remedy for the terminal illness of sin. Persons can be spared the
endless eternal suffering, and spend eternity in Heaven, only if they place
their faith in Christ's substitutionary death for their own sins and make
him Lord of their lives. The Bible says that Jesus Christ is the only way
that anyone can ever escape the horrible judgment of the lake of fire. Jesus
said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through Me" (John 14:6).
Furthermore, the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only
cure for this world's problems. The daily newspaper headlines express
despair and hopelessness over the ravages of drugs, alcoholism, child abuse,
crime, immorality, wars, corruption, and incurable diseases. A relationship
with the Lord Jesus Christ is the only thing which will change the wicked
hearts of men, give them goodness and happiness, and provide victory over
the deceptions of the Devil (John 10:10).
But Christ cannot save the lives of those who have
never heard about Him. And just how will they hear, if ever? Will it be by a
missionary which we supported to cross the ocean to tell them? Will they
hear by a radio or TV broadcast which we helped to sponsor? Will it be in a
church that we helped build with our contributions? Will it be by printed
tracts, books, or Bibles which we donated money to help print? Souls will
never be saved unless they hear about Christ, and as we can see, there are
no free ways of doing that. Salvation is a free gift, but it costs money to
take the message of salvation to the world.
How much value do we place on a human life? If our
local fire department needs more money to obtain men and equipment to fight
fires and save lives, do we gripe and complain about that? Would we
criticize our hospitals who seek funds to expand emergency facilities or buy
more ambulances? Do we ridicule those who raise funds to find cures for
cancer or other terminal illnesses? Of course not! Because most of us
realize the precious value of one life. But as important as it is to save a
human life, it cannot even compare to the tremendous importance of saving a
soul from eternal death!
Whatever you do, don't ever close your heart from
giving to help save souls from death! Rather, be a good steward over the
finances that God has given you. Always be faithful in giving your tithes to
your local church, and use wisdom when selecting and supporting ministries
outside your own congregation.
Here are some suggested guidelines that might help in
developing good habits of giving toward God's work:
(1) Establish a "budget." Determine
what you can afford to give to other ministries, after you've given tithes
to your local church. Budgeting is very biblical. Jesus taught us to "count
the cost," not to overextend ourselves. (Luke 14:28-29).
(2) Look for ministries with a proven
Seek for evidence of sound beliefs, "spiritual fruit," and a primary concern
to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
(3) Don't be an impulsive contributor.
Don't give to every touching appeal that comes your way. Be led of the
Spirit in your giving — learn to know the difference between being affected
emotionally, and being led spiritually. Pray first, and ask the Lord whether
it's His will for you to support them. Ask your pastor for counsel or
(4) Do your homework. Check up on
ministries and see if they're doing what they claim. Ask them to send you
financial statements and reports of their ministry progress.
(5) Make commitments carefully. Don't
make promises you can't keep, and keep the ones you make.
(6) Keep your offering private between you and
Don't give to make an impression on people, to gain influence or favor
(7) Don't keep strings attached to your gift.
When you give to the Lord, release the gift. Don't be possessive about your
offering — it's not yours anymore.
(8) Give to God, not to man. Always
be sure that, in your heart, you know that your donation is to God, not just
to a preacher or a ministry. Give to God in faith, trusting Him to bring a
return for your faithfulness to Him. Even if the preacher proves to be a
fake, you will never lose your reward if your gifts have been given to God.
(9) Learn to say "no." Christians obviously cannot be expected to give or support every ministry or cause, regardless of how worthy they all may be. Believers must learn that "no" can be a nice Christian word. We don't have to get mad at ministries or become offended at their appeals. Just smile and say "no."