Today is Giving Tuesday. Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to focus on the real meaning of the holiday season, the greatest gift of Christ and His love which frees and transforms us.
Honestly, in my opinion, Giving Tuesday should precede Thanksgiving. Maybe we would all be less focused on the commercialized shopping if we started our season with giving instead of following the almost week long shopping binge.
And, it would be a good reminder that we are to honor God by giving of our firstfruits, not what’s leftover.
Proverbs 3:9-10 ESV Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
Giving has always been something important to me. When I was five, I got passionate about supporting the missionaries at my church. I went home, dumped out my checker cup, and went door to door for donations without telling anyone.
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I’m lucky my parents didn’t kill me! I can’t imagine my six year-old being missing for two hours. But I did collect some money for a good cause.
That intense heart for causes and passion for people never changed.
Giving should be something we do all year, not just at Christmas, not just on giving Tuesday, but today’s a great day to focus on why we give back and starting the season with the right heart and the right attitude.
And the importance of giving wisely. Every good cause isn’t always supported by an effective charity. God has given each of us different blessings that He has asked us to steward. We can’t always be too skeptical, but be discerning. *See the end of post for how I research charities!
Give where you are passionate.
The world has millions of different causes. Even important work would get overlooked without people like us finding the ones that matter to us.
God gave each of us diverse interests and put us in specific places for a reason.
Find something that speaks to you and give there.
For example, I have several causes near and dear to my heart, but SavingEliza.com is extra special. A friend of a friend has a daughter who has Sanfilippo Syndrome, a tragic childhood Alzheimer’s, a disease orphaned by modern medical funding.
But the people who love and care about the children affected with Sanfilippo syndrome knew science had a potential treatment that just needed funding to get it through the final FDA stages.
With a handful of hope, several families with children suffering with Sanfilippo made an incredible push to get it done. They raised millions through people like me and you who care about giving. And children are starting to get treated!
Every year for her birthday which is right before Thanksgiving, I make a donation and often a few times during the year because so many children are still waiting for their chance to get this potentially disease halting treatment.
Secondly, give locally or personally.
Giving to someone in need near you is a powerful way to be a light in a dark world. Just this week, I had a chance to give to someone during a deeply difficult family trial. Sometimes, we don’t know what to say and other than prayers, we feel helpless.
Donating to a fundraiser is one way to say I’m walking with you!
Or take the time to give personally: mail a check, slide a grocery gift card under their door, or use the Facebook pay via messenger or Paypal. Make a difference for the people in your life.
Third, gifts don’t have to be financial.
Volunteer. Offer to cook food for an event. Babysit the neighbors’ kids so they can have a night out.
Give of your time, your talents, your treasures. Look for ways to help people. I find that if I slow down, I realize how much need I can be missing by just being too busy. Sometimes people just need our attention.
Also, pray about need.
God will sometimes bring someone to your mind. Last summer, He did just that for me, and I felt like I was supposed to mail her a check. It was kind of strange, but even as I was writing it, I made it out for more than I initially thought.
It wasn’t much, but I was blown away when she called and said there had been a problem with her husband’s paycheck through finance. Our small gift was enough to make some ends meet.
I love seeing how God uses us when we take the time to get quiet and listen to His prompting.
Lastly, research your charities. Lots of great causes are represented by non-profits that pay millions in salaries for CEOs or even celebrity endorsements, and sites like Charity Navigator are great ways to see how much of your donation goes where it should.
My personal rule of thumb is around 90% should go to doing what I intend it for.
Samaritan’s Purse earns a 96 out of 100 on Charity Navigator. They have many ways to donate. During Hurricane Harvey, they had a fund for emergency assistance. The have the Operation Christmas Child Shoeboxes and Gifts of Hope to help build communities around the world with gifts that keep on giving. My daughter wants to give a goat and baby chicks!
I don’t have much compared to some, but so much compared to so many, and I want to make a difference for Christ. I can’t do everything I wish I could, but I can do something.
Giving wisely, listening to God’s guidance spiritually, and using some discernment helps me give better this Giving Tuesday. I hope this helps you.