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Pressed But Not Crushed: A Guide to Faithful Giving


I pass the groceries from my cart onto the black rubber conveyor, then my eyes bulge at the screen when the total comes up.


Ugh…food did not always cost this much.


My belly twists as I tap my card, giving a tight smile to the cashier. Mentally working out what items I don’t actually need until next time around.


Meanwhile, December is here and many are considering their year-end giving. I unpack the bags from the car, almost resolute that with inflation there couldn’t possibly be any room for more donations.


Frustration and exasperation seep in as financial pressures poke and prod. Before we know it, we can find our coins locked into a tight fist and the miserly attitude of Scrooge hardening our hearts.


But, I don’t want to be like Scrooge.


So how do we face the tension of needs and gifts, more here, less there?


Prayerfully

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor. 9:7).


Upon returning from the store, enthusiastic generosity wasn’t my leading emotion. A sunken head at the bills doesn’t bode well for lavish gifts. It’s only when my head bows before Jehovah-Jireh— the One who provides—that the hardness melts and trust blooms. 


This is the moment where I surrender all my cares and concerns to the Father, knowing wholeheartedly the sacrifice of Christ to save us and his promise of provision for all our needs. 


He is enough.


With the gospel as my hub, a willing and eager spirit moves in to obey the Lord’s instructions to care for those around me and support the work of disciple-making among the nations.


Generously

“For in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part” (2 Cor. 8:2).

 

When the Macedonian church had nothing—in extreme poverty— still they gave


I can’t imagine what they all went without in order to send their gift to Paul. The passage goes on to tell us they surrendered their hearts first to Christ and then to each other. They poured out love on others, supporting the gospel’s advance. 


I’m not living in poverty. Our home is heated, there are clean clothes to wear. We have food at every meal. Making wise decisions with our budget is important to us, and we seek to steward what the Lord has given.


Then, I remember the widow’s offering. She gave all she had.


No matter what my giving looks like this year, it’s not likely to be all I have.


Intentionally

“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God” (Heb 13:16).

 

Perhaps it’s easier to give lavish gifts when you’re right there to see them being opened. I think of giving gifts to my kids and how beautiful it is to see their eyes light up in surprise as they tear the wrapping paper away. 


It makes it worth it. 


It feels good to give.


Recently, we met for a Christmas event with our local mission committee. A couple had visited a few months earlier, preparing to leave for Africa in January. During our director’s presentation, their names came up again and we heard that morning, they had received 100% of their support! It had been a serious struggle for them, but God provided, and you know what? There was a whoop of joy from everyone at the news!


The days of raising support are a vivid memory, as years ago we went overseas as church planters. The challenge of meeting numbers always felt intense, yet we persevered in trusting the Lord’s provision and his timing. Not only a test of faith, but one of great humility. There’s nothing like seeing a new name added to your supporter list (which always resulted in a leap of joy) and the humble gratitude for those who gave.


Prioritize support to your local church with your regular gifts, then seek the Lord about how to use what he’s given you to bless those advancing the gospel among the nations. (I can offer you an opportunity here).


The gospel reminds us of our God who generously gives. He's lavish in his expression of creativity in creation, in sending the Son when we had nothing to offer in return, then continues saving us daily through the Spirit's work in our daily lives making us more like Christ—he gives more grace.


With Paul’s words to Timothy, we’re reminded of God’s grace toward us, the privilege of giving and where our true hope lies:


“As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life” (1 Tim 6:17-19).


May the Lord bless you, and may we desire to be rich in the grace of giving.

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