Tuesday, October 8, 2013

God help a fearful giver

How much is enough? What's it worth? Who decides value? Does it matter?

Variations of such questions were with me long before my all-expenses-paid cruise, but they have been with me even more since.

God has blessed me so lavishly through the years. How can I say thank You? How can I reflect His goodness? How can I show and share His love?

I want to make a difference. I'm tired of being selfish. My intentions are generous and compassionate. My reality is much less so.

I want to give more, serve more, help more, show love more, read more, sing more, write more, trust and obey God more ....

So, what is stopping me? What is holding me back. Fear, yes. But what is that fear? Part of it is fully me, my own sense of insecurity, doubt, and even uncertainty about what to do and where to begin. Part involves the wants, needs, values and priorities of others.

Two things in the past week have highlighted this vividly.

First is the ongoing pledge drive at K-Love, a listener-supported Christian radio station that I listen to almost every time I am in my car, which is at least an hour most days. I've listened for probably 20 years -- and I've never given a penny to support the ministry. I've thought about it many times, but I've always held back. It's never been a matter of whether I can afford to. It's always been matters of circumstances of my own little world. Among the things that have stopped me: Not liking how they conduct their pledge drive; and fear that they would do what everything I've ever donated to has done, which is send more and more requests for money. Another excuse involves feeling overwhelmed with the need -- and how much is enough: If I give to this ministry, shouldn't I also be giving to that one and that one and that one? How does one decide? Where does one stop? And, of course, in all of this, I am convicted by the testimonies that are shared on the station, of people with so much less than I have who give in faith. I did finally decide to give, but even then, I gave a one-time amount rather than a pledge. I'm not sure what that's about. I hope it opens the door to more giving. The station and its music help keep me focused on God and the good His people are doing every day. Of course I want to support that. Why is this so hard? But ... it still is.

While that was going on -- at the end of the first week of the pledge drive, before I gave anything -- I got an email from the American Cancer Society asking me to complete a survey about a fundraising campaign they are considering doing. They have my name because of my support of Relay for Life. In the course of completing the survey, I again was confronted with my confusion and insecurity and lack of generosity ...

How do people who donate significant gifts make those decisions? I actually have been praying about this for some time -- how to be a good steward of what God has given me and Gene. So far, I'm still not clear. My best hope is that when the time is right, God will make it clear.

"Now finish the work, so that your eager willingness to do it may be matched by your completion of it, according to your means. For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have." (2 Corinthians 8:11-12)

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." (2 Corinthians 9:6-8)

"This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ,and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:12-15)

No comments:

Post a Comment