The Ice Bucket Challenge is Over. Now What?

Ice Bucket Challenge

Whether you dumped a bucket of ice water on yourself, watched as your friends did the same or wrote a check to support medical research, it was nearly impossible for anyone with an Internet connection to miss the Ice Bucket Challenge this summer. But as the season draws to a close, the viral fundraising sensation appears to be waning, which leaves us with an important question: Now what? [Read more…]

Giving Helps Us Overcome Fear

Fear of the Unknown

Somewhere in the back of your mind or the pit of your stomach is a gnawing fear: What if someday everything falls apart? What if you run out of money? What if you can’t feed your family? What if you go broke?

For some people, this is a very clear and imminent fear — if you live paycheck to paycheck, you’re always one small emergency away from financial ruin. But having a little bit of money doesn’t make this fear go away. It only makes it seem a little bit more distant. No matter how much money you accumulate, you can’t escape that little voice inside your head that says “this might all go wrong.”

There are two ways that we can react to this fear: One is to hold on to as much money as we can, hoping that a big pile of cash will act as a buffer between us and a disastrous end. The other reaction — and the better reaction — is to give your money away freely.

[Read more…]

Excellent Christians are Excellent Givers

Award Winner

Is your generosity big enough to match up to your faith?

Being a Christian is an all-consuming pursuit. You can’t really, honestly follow Jesus without Him taking hold of every area of your life. Follow Him long enough, and He’ll eventually start telling you what to do with your money.

God has a lot to say about how we should handle our money, and He intends for His people to be big givers. But sometimes giving doesn’t come easily. Sometimes, we have to stretch our generosity to meet the level of our faith. [Read more…]

Giving Changes Your Future Because it Changes You

Generous Giving

The universe is a much less mystical place than you may think it is.

It’s easy to think that the spiritual laws that govern our existence come from a deep, shadowy, inexplicable power. And while God is certainly deep and beyond our understanding, the rules that He has created to run the universe make a remarkable amount of sense. You just have to learn how to think about them.

Case in point: giving. We’ve done a lot of talking about giving recently on this site, especially in the context of caring for the poor. Giving is a mandate from Christ and a deed that demonstrates the authenticity of our faith. It gets God’s attention, and causes people here on earth to glorify Him.

The Bible promises that when we give, it changes our future. It brings us prosperity. We reap what we sow. And yet, the principle behind this can seem somewhat murky. How, exactly does me giving my money away cause me to prosper? How does it change the course of my future?

The answer isn’t rooted in some deep mysticism; in fact, it’s simpler than you might think. Giving changes your future because it changes you. [Read more…]

Caring for the Poor: Are You a Public Giver?

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One of the greatest dangers of Christianity is when we go out of our way to make sure that others know just how Christian we are.

In our modern practice of the faith, which puts so much emphasis on looking like good Christians (regardless of what is  going on inside our hearts), this danger is especially prescient. We want to make sure that other people in our faith communities see us doing good things, so that they will think we’re good people. If they do, it makes us feel better about ourselves.

This problem surfaces in all sorts of areas, and especially the area of giving. Taking care of the poor is such a good and noble thing to do that many of us want to be known for doing it.

From God’s point of view, though, that’s an issue.

[Read more…]

Caring for the Poor: Keep Your Ears Open

Cries of the poor

It’s amazing what kind of noise we can learn to tune out.

Most parents with young children will tell you that they’ve become accustomed to a level of noise in their houses. People who work on or around airplanes for very long quickly learn to ignore the ever-present hum of jet engines. Folks who live in homes near train tracks get to the point where they don’t even notice the trains going by anymore.

In general, our ability to tune out unnecessary noise is a great example of human adaptability. But sometimes we tune out important noises too, such as warnings or cries for help. And that’s when the situation turns dangerous.

This brings us to an important question: Are we tuning out the cries of the poor? [Read more…]

Caring for the Poor: Ministry to Christ

The Least of These

If you knew that a certain habit or action had a direct, positive impact on Jesus Himself, would you do it more?

For a couple of months, we’ve been studying all of the biblical reasons for Christians to be about the business of caring for the poor, and specifically giving to meet their financial needs. The list of reasons is stacking up pretty high: Giving is a mandate from Christ, motivated by God’s love in us. It gets God’s attention, and is evidence to the world that our faith is real.

Giving is the most pure form of religion; it results in praise and thanksgiving to God. He would rather see us care for the poor than perfectly execute any other religious ritual.

If none of these arguments inspires you, though, maybe this one will: When we give to the poor, we are caring for Christ Himself. [Read more…]

Caring for the Poor: True Fasting

Fasting and Giving

A few hours after the first meal you skip, you being to feel a gnawing hunger in the pit of your stomach. A few hours after that, you’ll notice your extremities going cold and a dull pain creep across your skull. The symptoms never go away until you have your next bite of food.

If you’ve ever fasted, you’re probably familiar with physical sensations that come along with foregoing food for a day or more. The Bible teaches us about fasting as a way to focus our prayers and to hear more clearly from God. But it also teaches that fasting from food is incomplete if we don’t also help people in need. [Read more…]

Caring for the Poor: Praise and Thanksgiving

Thank You Cards

Sometimes it’s all you can muster to have a thankful heart and praise God for the things that He has done in your life. But did you know that there are things that you can do to inspire thanks and praise in other people?

For the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing the many different lessons that the Bible teaches us about the importance of giving to the poor. Jesus commanded us to do it, and the New Testament writers explained that caring for the needy is an expression of God’s love and evidence of a living faith.

Today we’re going to look at another important reason to care for the poor: Our giving inspires them to thank and praise God. [Read more…]

Caring for the Poor: Giving Gets God’s Attention

Preparing Food for the Poor

If you really wanted to make an impression on God, to get His attention, to do something that would genuinely please Him, what would you do?

Perhaps your first step should be caring for the poor.

When we study scripture, we find that God cares deeply for the poor, and He wants His people to be about the business of taking care of them. There are all sorts of reasons to do this: It was mandated by Christ, and it is evidence of a living faith. If the love of God lives inside us, it compels us to give.

But in the book of Acts, we find another benefit of charitable giving: It gets God’s attention. [Read more…]

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