So its nearing Christmas and if you’re in the Christian circles like me, you’ll be getting quite a bit of mail from both Christian and secular charities encouraging you to give to Christmas things, help out those less fortunate at Christmas. On top of this, perhaps you receive the newsletter of some missionaries too, or other ministry groups.
I’m sure some of you can relate to this. It’s so easy to tick yup I’d like to receive your missionary newsletter or things you’ve been involved with in the past continue to send you updates.
There’s usually two points in the year this happens, end of financial year and Christmas. Chris and I for some reason have SO many things that we get emails/letters for, I guess it comes from having missionary friends, as well as being leaders for some time…at last count:
5 sets of missionaries, 5 ministry trainees/workers, 8 christian organisations/charities, 5 missionary organisations, 2 secular charities…and that doesn’t include the ones we support through church…
And there’s the times they send the letter and they say something like ‘thank you for praying for me’ and you think…”actually I haven’t been praying for you…” Unfortunately with the volume of these we don’t support any of them well, financially or prayerfully! I had one week where I was feeling rather overwhelmed with all the requests to give.
So these holidays I’ve decided I have to do something! Rather than blindly just ‘signing up’ its worth thinking carefully about what causes to support. This is what I’ve decided for my holiday ctivity:
1. Personal: Be faithful with a few: So I’ve decided to choose things that I have an interest in or passionate about. Yes, it means that some other things get neglected but I think I’ve come to realise there are just needs EVERYWHERE. Have to begin somewhere. Personally, this means being committed to these so in the past we have been committed to a secular charity ‘Oaktree Foundation’ (for Live Below the Line) and Christian charity Compassion. In terms of financial/prayer support for missionaries, we’ve chosen a few causes we feel compelled to support regularly.
For a while, for me that was females in ministry, or Japan, or Asia in general. So at that time, I particularly chose causes related to those things to support. For everyone else, hmm…I guess unsubscribe or RPD (read, pray, delete) as soon as you get them I guess. Or for friends in ministry, just read to get an update? Otherwise its just TOO much…
2. Community: Help other causes now and again: I think then there’s a place to support causes that other people are doing: so perhaps your church as a whole are supporting missionaries or a friend who’s asking for support for their own thing (E.g. 40 hr famine, ST missions, Operation Christmas child…)
3. One-off: then there’s those times people need help suddenly. Maybe you’ve received some unexpected cash from a tax return or something. This can be given to tsunami relief, flood aid, perhaps someone who’s short on cash but wants to study at college/mission work.
If I can do that well, then I’ll slowly work my way back up. Having said all this, there are some people out there that can handle it all. There’s some from my church.
These guys on YT are especially inspiring – the Jubilee Project. Their goal is to harness social media to encourage people to do good. They are 3 young asian guys (all super smart – working at the white house, a top consulting firm and Harvard med school) who do these videos in their ‘spare time’…I don’t know how they can juggle study/work and keep up with all the causes they’ve done videos for (North Korean human rights, Sex trafficking, Haiti, Leukimia awareness, the needy….and many others!)
Though they’re not operate as a Christian group (though they seem to be Christians?), I think the idea of doing good one Christians can be famous for. Yes, we’re not saved by it, but we’re saved for it (Eph 2:10). Mark McCrindle has also put out a book on this theme. He’s a Christian but the book isn’t written from a Christian perspective and many of the stories are from non-believers. I pray that we as Christians can be known for our good works which glorifies God:
2 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Pet 2:11-13, NIV)
Let’s continue to do good! I encourage you to think about how you will do good/give generously. What causes do you feel are important? What has God laid on your heart? Perhaps its also a holiday activity for you to think about 🙂
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.” (Gal 6:9-10, NLT)