Helping Christ's Mission

But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased. (Hebrews 13:16 NKJV)

We are entering the season where there will be a real push to solicit charitable donations prior to the holidays and year’s end. Assaulted on all sides with such requests, they come as what we call junk mail stuffed into our boxes, as earnest voices on the telephone, both landline, and cell, at home and at work. During commercial breaks, they invade our living rooms, sentimental music overlaid by the voice of a celebrity. When we check out at stores we are routinely asked if we would like to make a donation to the underprivileged. Even neglected animals get into the act, pleading with us from a photo taped to a jar at the cash register in a convenience store. And if we retreat into the normal commercial free land of public television, even there we are doomed to month-long pledge drives a couple of times a year that my family not so fondly refers to as “Begging for Bucks.”

Those of us who are able probably shut out, justifiably, all but a few of the causes we deem most worthy, but there are those who are particularly vulnerable to the high-pressure tactics some use. My poor elderly aunt who lived alone fell prey to one of the phone scams the state attorney general warned us about. They knew they had a live one with her so they came back to the trough again and again, receiving sizable contributions from her each time. But the heavy-handed salesman’s tactics employed by shady organizations like that one aren’t the only way the vulnerable are exploited. Sometimes reputable charities get into the act too, droning on in infomercials where an audience captive to the impassioned voice of some famous pitchman responds to the appeals to their already fragile emotions. One of those well-honed TV pleas had my eighty-year-old mother scrambling to jot down the address.

Given the many ways charity fundraising can go wrong, leaving behind a bad lingering aftertaste, there is little wonder we are skeptical. We would do well to follow the example set by the early church which was a shining example of putting Christ’s teachings to work. He had made it clear that being a Christian meant using all the means we have at our disposal to administer to the needs of the poor, aid in healing the sick (both of body and soul), and spreading the good news of redemption and the offer of eternal life to all nations. 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise these global efforts require funding. Our options to give to deserving causes are many. Organizations dig wells that provide a safe water source where none existed before, inner-city children are provided with safe places to gather after school, battered women are given shelter, Bibles are distributed for the first time translated in the receiver’s native tongue. By all means don’t be distracted by the noisemakers, but instead, seek out those who quietly go about God’s work and give to them as Christ would have us do.

Dear Father, Please guide us to give to causes which use their resources for the furthering of your kingdom. Amen.

Carol (NC)