Given these challenging times, today is a good day to consider giving your giving an overhaul. As stewards of God’s resources, it’s important that we check in with him from time to time to make sure that our generosity is being channelled in the right direction. One-off donations are great, but now, more than ever, the certainty of regular financial support could be a lifeline for some struggling in the face of Coronavirus.
Whilst we’re passionate about inspiring people to give to worthwhile causes, we realise that some of you reading this may be facing severe financial uncertainty. If you’re worried about your finances, please seek help from experts such as our friends at Christians Against Poverty.
Green: Choose a charity that’s important to you and pledge to give regularly, even if it’s a very small amount.
Amber: Spend some time discerning an issue which is really close to your heart and identify three charities that are doing great work in that field. Pick one that you really want to support and make a commitment to engage with it, starting with a regular donation.
Red: Set aside time to think carefully and prayerfully about your financial giving this week, and where it fits among your other priorities. Remind yourself of the causes you support and consider whether you’re in a position to commit to help in new and different ways at this time. Don’t worry if the amount of time or money you can offer seems small to you; engage and see what happens.
‘You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion…’ (2 Corinthians 9:11 NIV)
In the year and a half that I have been CEO of Stewardship, I have had the privilege of meeting with many people who are living and giving sacrificially. This is a rare and precious thing in our society. So often our culture tells us we need more, that we need to aspire to live the life of the rich and famous, that we need to look after ourselves first, and that only by doing this will we be truly happy. As we face the impact of Coronavirus in our homes and in our families, those feelings of self-preservation may, for some, have never felt greater. Equally, this may also be a moment in history where community, fellowship and the hope of the Gospel step forward to reveal where true happiness can be found.
It can be so easy to feel that when we give money we are losing some of what is ours. But I believe that when we commit to regular financial giving, it can be a sacred act that brings you into a new relationship with your money, with the causes that you are passionate about, and ultimately with God. Right now, many of those causes may be more in need of financial support than ever before.
As we see in the stories of the early church, generosity often ‘wells up’ in the face of severe trial and extreme poverty. I remember my first financial gift of any substance came during a particularly dark time in my own life. Five days after our 25th wedding anniversary, my first wife Jane died from cancer. I was a grief-stricken father to three teenage children and the pastoral care I received from the rector of my church was profound.
It was my unending gratitude for this care that prompted me to give. I had no idea that this first gift would trigger a series of events that would deepen my faith, heal my heart, bring me into closer relationship with Jesus and commit my work to Christian ministry.
At Stewardship we are passionate about inspiring and resourcing Christians to be generous, which is why we run a generosity challenge like 40acts! We also provide a way for people to easily give to the causes they care most about. Our giving accounts help people give to their church, to friends in full-time Christian ministry and to charities, all through one monthly donation.
At the moment, our teams are busy supporting thousands of churches, Christian ministries and mission workers as they adjust for turbulent times ahead. We are working long hours providing advice to those worried for their causes’ financial future. We’re providing counsel and a listening ear to those in our community already impacted by Corona and struggling to maintain their giving right now, and helping many others who are stepping into the gap and are in a position to give more at this time.
Giving can be a hard decision when your finances are turbulent, but when we commit to giving even a little, the Bible promises that we will be ‘enriched’. We can move out of worry to glimpse the abounding fullness of God’s love.
If you can, make today the day to review your giving and commit to a longer-term relationship with a cause that is on your heart. It may be a sacrifice and a leap of faith, but be ready to receive much more than you give!