I didn’t grow up in a wealthy home by any stretch of the imagination. But as an only child (my wife calls me “spoiled”) there was never a time that I went without. My parents didn’t come from wealthy backgrounds either but they understood the connection between education and income and achieved academically. With my father entering the military and becoming an officer and my mother becoming a registered nurse they were able to provide a stable upbringing for me and then some.
I say all of that simply to acknowledge that I have been blessed beyond measure! I have been given so much. There’s a passage in the Bible from the book of Luke that says, “Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities! (Luke 12:48, The Message)
I’ve been given the “greater gifts” for sure! Maybe you have too. In fact, I said that I didn’t grow up in a “wealthy” home. That isn’t altogether true. Compared to most of the world I lived like Ricky Schroder in the 80’s sitcom Silver Spoons! Just go to www.givingwhatwecan.org and calculate your wealth compared to the rest of the world. I ranked in the top 13%! I don’t feel guilty about that but I do feel responsible. In other words I can’t just go around and squander these “greater gifts”. So I take it as a challenge to give generously and be less concerned with hanging on to everything I can get my hands on. It’s a hard thing in this land of abundance.
So at this time of the year you may be thinking about your own generosity. You may share my feeling of responsibility with the “greater gifts”. I say GIVE COURAGEOUSLY! Give way more than you think you can and see how God makes a huge difference. Be courageous enough to go without something you love so that someone else can have what is needed to survive.
Here are some awesome organization you might consider giving too right now. My wife and I give to some but not all of the ones listed. Whatever you decide to do, remember there is something powerful in our generosity.
Local CHURCH if you belong to a local church please GIVE and support the ministry it is doing! I believe it is divinely ordained to be a place where people grow, serve, and become the people God has in mind for them to become. But it needs resources to do this!
COMPASSION INTERNATIONAL: one of my favorite organizations on the planet! My wife and I sponsor two children through their child sponsorship program which provides food, clean water, education, life skills, and a connection to a local church.
WORLD VISION: a great organization doing amazing work around the world! They have a child sponsorship program along with tons of ways to get involved in helping children and families in need.
ADRA: operated by the Seventh-day Adventist church this development and relief organization is ALWAYS there when something catastrophic happens around the globe. Awesome “catalog” they put out with ways to give and make a difference.
WORLD HEALTH SERVICES: a small organization that does AMAZING things to bring free healthcare to parts of the world that would never have it if they weren’t there! Will be taking my daughter with me on their next medical mission trip to Tanzania in early 2013.
FEEDING CHILDREN EVERYWHERE: I’m so impressed with this organization based here in Orlando. You can partner with them and feed children in your community. We just did this at my church and it was powerful!
XXXCHURCH.COM: these guys are my friends and they do amazing work to help FREE people from the grips of addiction. They aren’t afraid to go places and say things that need to be said in order to rescue broken people. Your gift would make a huge difference!
CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL: find a children’s hospital and make a donation! They are all doing amazing work! Check out Nemours!
SCHOOL: there are great schools out there with amazing teachers doing an incredible job. They NEED all kinds of support! Find a school in your neighborhood and adopt it. In light of the recent tragedy in Newtown Connecticut we can be a source of support, encouragement, and healing.
SHORT TERM MISSION TRIP: you may know of a young person raising money to go on a short-term or even longer mission trip abroad. Give, give, give! It could radically change their lives.
MINISTRY ORGANIZATION: there may be a radio ministry or other parachurch organization that is doing work that you really love. Remember that many of them give away books and other resources as part of their ministries. These resources aren’t free to create though. They need support especially right now if they are going to continue to do what they do that blesses so many.