Giving it Up

“Chuggers” have been in the news again over the weekend.  Described by the BBC as “professional fund-raisers”, those people who approach you in the street to try to get you to support the charity they work for.

Street fundraising in New York by Edward

I guess we all have our favourite charities.  I tend not to give in the street, unless I see a real need, but have planned giving – always backed up by Gift Aid!  Perhaps that seems lacking in spontaneity, but it is quite the opposite, it is an intentional decision that I will give and to whom.  I like to be sure where my money is going to and how it will be used – perhaps that’s not the right attitude, but I don’t want it to be wasted.  But I guess the main thing about giving is not when, how or to whom – but that we do.

What do you think?  What are your rules about giving?

You do everything better than anyone else. You have stronger faith. You speak better and know more. You are eager to give, and you love us better. Now you must give more generously than anyone else.

I am not ordering you to do this. I am simply testing how real your love is by comparing it with the concern that others have shown. You know that our Lord Jesus Christ was kind enough to give up all his riches and become poor, so that you could become rich.

10 A year ago you were the first ones to give, and you gave because you wanted to. So listen to my advice. 11 I think you should finish what you started. If you give according to what you have, you will prove that you are as eager to give as you were to think about giving. 12 It doesn’t matter how much you have. What matters is how much you are willing to give from what you have.

13 I am not trying to make life easier for others by making life harder for you. But it is only fair 14 for you to share with them when you have so much, and they have so little. Later, when they have more than enough, and you are in need, they can share with you. Then everyone will have a fair share, 15 just as the Scriptures say,

“Those who gathered
too much
had nothing left.
Those who gathered
only a little
had all they needed.”

But this whole thing about giving has to be about far more than giving money.  That is just a tiny part of what we have to give to others.  We, rightly, get incensed about government cuts to the vulnerable, and money being wasted elsewhere – but what are we doing about it?  What are we giving to society?

Paul says that giving is a test of love.  How much do we love?

Do we give of our time?

Do we share our experience that may help and support others?

Do we create space for others who need it?

Do we offer friendship?

Do we show concern for the welfare of others?

Giving is not a competition, but it is a response to the abundance of all we have.

It doesn’t matter how much you have. What matters is how much you are willing to give from what you have (v 12)

Jesus gave up everything for us – how do we respond in what we give to others?

Lord,

I want to thank you

for everything you have given to me.

When I look at my life,

and the abundances within it,

I have so much I can share.

Lord,

may I hold loosely to what you have given to me

that I may always be willing to give it to another

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