[Calvary Chapel] 2001-12-06 - God Knows That

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world (KJV)

The Christmas holiday season brings out the best in most people. It is typically a time when donations to charities go up. While some of it is tax planning ,even that has some heart of charity in it. The recipient groups are chosen with some care. There are may organizations with stirling reputations and records of getting the most money to their focused group in need. The media has placed the spotlight on a few and raised questions about their practices. Some, perhaps not all, of these are unfair. But, please be Bereans and make those determinations for yourselves. I want you to be wise, but to not be diswaded entirely from giving. There are still many needy people. There are people who were just making ends meet before the attacks of September 11th who are now out of work or struggling to maintain what is left of their job.

God loves a cheerful giver. We should be glad to support the local church or orphans or families on the other side of the world. If it is done grudgingly, there is no blessing in that for anyone. And one thing that is often forgotten - giving does not have to mean money. Giving can be out of your time, your abilities or your finances. I know of elder people who are living on a tight budget, and have arthritis that keeps them from being very active. They may not seem like they have much to give, but they are prayer warriors. They quietly go about their giving behind the scenes. And if you come to visit them, you are the one who is blessed - and they love giving of their experience and accumulated wisdom. Sweep the church. Cut the grass at the parsonage. Visit one of the widows in your town. Support one of the child relief organizations. But what ever you do, stay in it if you can. If you can't, God knows that. But, children have stories to tell just like the widows. One of the greatest gifts you can give are your two ears. And - you may receive the greater blessing.

I recently received a letter from a frustrated father. His family was working hard, both he and his wife work and it sounded like more than one job for him. He told me they were just able to pay the bills and feed their kids. He was feeling pressure to tithe. I'm not sure if that pressure was from within himself, or from a sermon or radio program. The first thought that crossed my mind was, "If you're just making ends meet, God knows that. Feed the kids and put shoes on their feet. And don't feel guilty. Thank God for what you have and be blessed." God will never ask more of you than you can give. Remember, He put it in your pocket in the first place. Be faithful with the one, two or five talents you have been given. Invest them wisely. If the only place and time you have to invest them in is with your kids - teach them.

“The other side of the world is not so far away, and the distance just dissolves into the love”

(Rich Mullins 1955-1997, Title: The Other Side of the World,
Album: Winds of Earth, Stuff of Heaven 1988)

Grace & Peace,

[email mike] jmhoskins@gmail.com