Guidance on Giving

I believe the Bible teaches that finances provide an important school for our spiritual growth.  Money is important to us, and how we make decisions about important things impacts and reflects our relationship with God.

A prime example is how we decide where and when to give to needs that we become aware of.  Giving is just one example where Always and Never are words that rob us of opportunities to grow in our ability to sense God’s leading.  If I live by a rule that I never give to a beggar on the street or I always give to a beggar on the street, I’m not listening for God’s leading each time I see a beggar — I’m living by my own predetermined formula.  I know all of the pro/con arguments about the Bible’s call to meet the needs of the poor vs. how handouts do more harm than good.  Those arguments reflect valid truths, but are secondary to God’s desire to use the events and opportunities in our lives to grow our relationship with and dependence on Him.  Don’t rob God of the opportunity to make exceptions to your rules.

So when you receive an invitation to support some cause, be careful about just callously throwing out yet another appeal for money, or letting yourself succumb to every well-crafted emotional appeal.  Ask God for guidance.  You may not sense a clear answer every time about what God wants you to do.  Sometimes He wants you to make decisions on your own to test the motives of your heart — why you make the decision is often more important than the decision itself.  Sometimes you’ll make what later appears to be a wrong decision.  That’s part of the learning process.  He knows we’ll blunder our way along, but He works all things — including our mistakes — work for good if we love Him and are called according to His purpose.  God will be honored if you humbly seek His guidance whether you’re aware of actually receiving it or not.

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