Bible Ballistics: BBs #393 Compassionate But Not Blinded!!!
“For the LORD shall be thy confidence,
and shall keep thy foot from being taken.
27 Withhold not good
to whom it is due,
when it is in the power
of thine hand to do it.” Proverbs 3:26-27
We are inundated with requests for ‘money’, ‘aid’, ‘help’, and ‘contributions’ for those in need; so what are we to do? We obviously can’t meet every need, or give to everyone that sends us a request in the mail to donate to their ‘cause’. So what standard of our giving are we to exercise? While we can’t answer that question in depth here today, I’d like to just share a few biblical principles of giving, and some insight that I have gained through the years that has helped me in trying to give wisely.
The verses above compel us first of all to make sure our confidence is in The Lord God Almighty, and His Son Jesus! And as verse 5-6 of this same chapter of Proverbs reminds us He will “direct thy paths” when we trust Him and “acknowledge him” in “all” our ways (including giving) rather than our own human understanding. He has promised to direct our steps, and through His Word to “light” our path, our part is to seek Him through His Word, and then listen to His Spirit’s direction in our daily lives. We are compelled to not “withhold” good to those who truly have needs, “when it is in the power of thine hand to do it”! Simply put God is telling us that we can only give what we have—we can’t give what we don’t have; but we are to care about others and share what we do have as we are given opportunity. But that doesn’t mean we are to give blindly to everyone who asks.
“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:6-7
All the while remembering what Jesus warned us of:
“Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Matthew 10:16
Jesus warned us that He was sending out as “sheep in the midst of wolves”, and believe me friends; there are many out there ‘asking’ who are simply asking for themselves—their only goal is to ‘fleece the sheep’! It is our job to be wise in our giving—not stingy, or resentful—but wisely generous. That means you need to know who you are giving to—anyone can go online and see the financial structure of most charitable organizations; to see what percentage of the money received actually goes to the intended recipients, and how they compensate their leadership! I do not give to very many “mainstream” national organizations, particularly those most widely promoted in the media, because if you’ll check out their financial structure they have very high-paid upper echelon leadership, and often times they are totally rude and crude to the grass-roots organizations who are actually in the front lines of the battle meeting needs. I’ve seen it and while this isn’t a smear campaign against any organization, you just need to do your “homework” before you give.
What I counsel people who ask me, is to check out your denominational organization to see if they have a “disaster relief” arm that will funnel the contributions directly through local churches to meet the most urgent local needs. The other organization that I recommend most is the Salvation Army, who have done great works of ministry for over 100 years, and even their upper level administrators live on a modest and reasonable salary, not the outrageous and unreal salaries that many of the mainstream organizations try to justify, at the givers expense.
We are to give willingly, as we are able, and with a cheerful heart, not because we “have” more but because we “have” something to give, and because we recognize that we are giving to others “as unto the Lord”! So as you see all the needs around us in this time of crises on every hand, be kind, generous and compassionate—but also be wise and harmless.
And just a side note, as a personal testimony of why I believe “local” is almost always the best way to go, rather than through the ‘national’ level or the ‘government’, I’ll share just a brief account of my experiences in this regard.
I went through Hurricane Camille in 1969 (at the time, the worst storm on record prior to Katrina) on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. There was horrific devastation all across the coast and for miles inland. There were hundreds of tornados spawned out of the storm, as well as record setting flooding in places never affected by floods before. While that seems like ages ago, in a different time in history, everyone who could help did! And the majority of help came through the local churches that were the distribution points for most of the residents of the area. The major ‘national’ organizations were more concerned with paper work, and judging whom they deemed worthy of their help, while the churches were busy trying to alleviate the needs and shortages of everything from food to clothes, from linens to staples, and everything in between. There weren’t “FEMA” provisions, only low interest loans to those who were wiped out without recourse. I personally have never given one thin dime to the major national relief organizations since that day. I give to grass-roots organizations that use the funds they receive to meet needs, not line their own pockets and increase their public “image”, because if you’ve ever been on the front lines of disasters of these unbelievable proportions, you know who does the work.
And while I didn’t go through Katrina, three of my children did, and once again it was the local churches and grass-roots organizations that met the needs. I can say from personal knowledge that there was hardly a local church that had a useable structure left standing, that didn’t use those buildings to house, feed and coordinate recovery efforts for the people of the Gulf Coast long after the “glory seekers” were gone (some for more than a year!). Many of those churches were staging areas and dormitories for those who came in through individual denominations and organizations to clean up mud, remove debris, minister to those who were hurting, rebuild homes for those who had but lost it all because they had no ‘flood insurance’. I saw people reaching out to people, taking pillows and stuffed animals to schools so the children could have something that was ‘theirs’, when so many of them had nothing! I saw these groups take people to the stores and purchase their appliances, furniture and other basic needs once their dwellings were ready to live in. And not one red government dollar was involved in all of this, but did you hear about it? NO! Because it wasn’t being done for show! You didn’t hear about it unless you were there and saw what went on in those ‘staging areas’ in hundreds of churches across the Gulf Coast of Mississippi and Louisiana. Yes, I’m passionate about helping others, but I’m also passionate about every follower of Jesus Christ who gives being informed in their giving!!!
So my challenge to you today is to give, YES—but be “wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” and know who you’re giving to and what they’re doing with your funds. And pray, pray, pray for those in harms way, and for God to please “deliver us from evil” in this ‘evil day’!