A Giving Perspective


Ti’s the season for giving. There’s no question about it. My good friend  Sal Sberna raised 1.4 million at last weekend’s mission offering at his 4,000-member church in Houston, TX.  A lot of non profits depend on  December’s giving in order to survive the rest of the year. But no matter how often we give, there’s always the nagging question that seem to pop in the back of our minds: what if they misuse my money? What if instead of missions, my money goes to buy the pastor a new boat? Should the risk of my money being misused stop me from giving? The answer is a resounding “NO.”

Giving perspective Maurilio Amorim

Most of us know not to give to churches, ministries or solicitors that are not familiar to us. At least I hope you don’t. Unfortunately, there are too many shysters who pray on gracious people, specially the elderly.  But if you’re not sure, take some time and check the charity out. Make sure they are an IRS recognized non profit (501 c3 status). But even the right credentials, longevity, and assurances are not enough to full-proof your gift.

Over the years I have developed a simple mindset for giving. No matter the size of the gift, my donation is to God first and foremost. Whether I’m giving to my church, to a ministry or to a stranger holding up a sign on the side of the road, I’m ultimately giving my money to God. The issue then, is not what people are going to do with my money; it becomes how they are going to use God’s resources. Once I give developed this mindset, I no longer worry or have the urge to follow the homeless man around to find out if he’s buying food or booze with my gift. Wherever the money goes is now God’s problem, not mine.

Have you ever given reluctantly to a cause?

  • Elizabeth

    That's a great perspective. I often wonder about my donations when a run across a story about charities miss using funds. Giving it to God takes care of that. Thank you.

  • Greg

    I have struggled since Thanksgiving with what to do regarding next year's donations to church. I'm a member of a UMC congregation, and while I know my church is doing great work, I also know that a portion of my giving goes to support several agencies within the national church that I very much oppose. But, just last week God made me comfortable with giving to the local church, in spite of what the national church does. I just continue to pray for a reformation within the UMC.

  • Great post, Maurilio. I used to struggle with this a lot. Especially when it came to giving to the homeless. Once, however, I stopped ignoring that fact that God commands us to care for the poor, I gained a whole new perspective. Now I give and try not to even think about where my money is going. All I can do is obey God's commands and nothing else is really in my control.

  • Great post. I write a blog centered around (the humorous side of) raising support. I will be linking to this post. Thanks!

    • anyone who can write a blog on the humorous side of raising support is a genius!

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  • kevinscottbanks

    This is a topic that everyone seems to be talking about around Christmas-time. I've had this discussion with multiple people in the last few weeks. I do think it's wise to be diligent in our giving and not just throw it out the window. But I'd rather err on the generous side and let God worry about how the money is being spent. Thanks for the reminder that when we give, we give to God, not to man. "…as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." – Matthew 25:40

  • What gets me is when people will try to stop you from giving to the homeless guy with a sign by saying, "What if he goes and buys beer?"

    I'm tempted to swear at them, but I usually just say, "It's not my business WHAT he buys. My job is to give when I can." After all, who's to say I wasn't going to buy a bottle of wine with the same cash:?

  • I agree that we should research the charities we donate to and make sure that they are good stewards of the funds we give them. But I was amazed last week when a bunch of people got upset about the Salvation Army giving small Christmas gifts to prison inmates (my latest blog post). Some swore they would not give to Salvation Army any more. Seems that they felt that prison ministry was a "misuse" of their funds. I guess they hadn't read Matthew 25.

  • Andy

    I have to say, I don't recall ever being reluctant, on the front end, to give to a particular cause I am led to contribute to. That being said, I may be reluctant to give to that cause AGAIN if I find the money they get is misused, misappropriated or spent foolishly. And yes, there have been a few times I REGRETTED having given when I found someone had chosen to treat what they have received, not just from me but otehrs as well, with less than integrity. That is usually short lived when I remind myself that I KNOW I was to give and cannot control and/or worry about the gift once it is given. What I can control is whether I give to that cause again once I know the recipient has acted with less than integrity. Above all, I try to remain sensitive to God as He directs where to give as well as how much. Thankfully, the letdowns are few and far between.

  • Very good thoughts. After you've investigated the group and/or you know the individual, the rest of it is a trust issue. As a fundraised full-time missionary, we run into this attitude all the time, mostly focused around how we live. I see it that the onus is on us to be wise stewards of what people have given to God, then God has given to me; if we misuse it, we're the ones in trouble with God. I highly doubt that God will punish a good-hearted donor who was scammed into giving to a bad charity.

    –C. Holland

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  • Sheryl Tuttle

    I really like your thoughts on giving with the mindset that first and foremost your gift is to God. Sometimes it’s hard not to wonder what that street corner beggar is doing with the money, but I think your philosophy will help. Thank you.

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