Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Blessings of Giving

In tough economic times as the ones we are currently in, it is easy for us to become tight-fisted when it comes to our giving patterns. The sad reality is that most Christians will discontinue giving to our churches or our favorite charities before we'll sacrifice luxuries that we can realistically do without. However, this is not the case with everyone. As a missionary dependent upon the generosity of others in order to meet the needs of our family, I have the privilege of being on the receiving end of many that give sacrificially so that we can serve in ministry like we do.

In fact, Lori and I just received a note in the mail today from a financial ministry partner of ours that had fallen behind in her giving. She apologized to us and shared that because of a decrease in income, she had been unable to fulfill her commitment. But she let us know that she had recently dropped a check in the mail to cover the months she missed and to start back up again. Notes like this really make my day! Not so much because we're receiving that money (which is nice), but because God is using our ministry as a vehicle to work in this woman's life. Ultimately, I don't think that she's really giving to us. She's giving to God's work and we simply get to be part of that process.

It is a privilege to be both on the receiving and the giving end when it comes to God's mission in the world. Andrew Jones, aka the popular blogger TallSkinnyKiwi, recently posted on this topic. This is what he had to say:
"This week I was on the phone with an Executive Director of a Foundation that gives millions of dollars to missions. Things are tight right now for them, as they are for many other faith-based Foundations, but they are doing their best to keep commitments to missionaries. Not easy during this recession when the returns on investments don't bring the kind of returns they had hoped for. Missionaries who depend on these kinds of gifts are struggling this year.
Immediately after hanging up the phone with this Foundation, I went out to dinner with a Portuguese house church pastor. His tiny church had put together a HUGE love package for our missionary family including 5 bottles of wine and all kinds of food. There was even an envelope with money as a thank you gift for our ministry in Portugal five years ago.One of the families who gave included a not-so-wealthy family with two children. One of the children, on hearing of our family's mission, donated the entire contents of his piggy bank to help the gift go further. This church leader wept when he received the gift and was really emotional when he told me the story.
The big and the small. Both important to God. Its weird being in the middle of these two disparate groups; Foundation leaders with large investments and little boys with piggy banks. The Kingdom of God moves forward on the resources of both groups."
Whatever role it is that we may play in making a difference in the world matters. I believe there is no greater cause than the cause of Christ and whether we are giving our time, prayers, talents or finances, our investments in eternity matter.

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