I just finished reading the best book I ever read concerning Biblical principles on giving wisely. The author is Jonathan Martin and the title of his book is Giving Wisely? You can find and purchase it from www.amazon.com.
2 Corinthians 8:14,15--At the present time your surplus is available for their need, so that their abundance may also become available for your need, that there may be equality. As it has been written: The person who gathered much did not have too much, and the person who gathered little did not have too little.
During this time of economic uncertainty, many Christians struggle with how to handle their money. I wrestle with how to best invest the resources God gives me towards His Kingdom. There are more needs than I can help and I receive requests for financial assistance virtually every week. On top of those requests are my own financial challenges. So what does God want me to do?
Jonathan shares five principles in the acronym RAISE that form a great guide in helping us give locally or internationally in a God pleasing manner.
R = Relationship. Jonathan notes, “The healthiest giving is best done at a relational level, not merely the emotional level.” Too often we give out of a guilt complex that we have more than someone else, or because we feel manipulated emotionally by the appeal. It takes more work to form a relationship with someone but the end result is almost always better than resorting to a handout.
A = Accountability. Jonathan’s church, Good Shepherd Community Church, does not support nationals directly. They give through organizations. This creates answerability and protects against fraud, misunderstanding and abuse. Is it wise to give a person money for food who has cable television, indulges bad habits and runs up credit card debt?
I S = Indigenous Sustainability. Sometimes our giving directly sabotages the motivation of a local ministry to meet its needs. Our giving should not create dependency or stifle the creativity and responsibility of another body to fix its problems and grow local solutions.
E = Equity. Our giving should not inappropriately raise another above the local standard of living. As we see in the passage above, balance in the body is a good thing!
This morning I was impressed with Jacob’s example in Genesis 43. His family was in the midst of a severe famine and they badly needed food. Despite the harsh and bizarre manner his sons were treated by Joseph (whom they did not recognize), Jacob sent them back to Egypt with the finest products of their land and twice as much money as was needed. He chose to be a blessing in the face of suffering. As Christians, we can always give something! Too often, we let our circumstances determine our action or inaction instead of trusting God. Give because God gave you His best, Jesus. Help others so as to bless them and you receive blessing. Just don’t forget to share wisely! God does not just expect us to be generous, He expects us to use discernment with the resources He owns!
Harambee is the East African custom of joining efforts to raise resources for a good cause.—Glenn Schwartz in When Charity Destroys Dignity
©2010 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)