“There is a lad here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are these for so many people?” John 6:9 (NASB)
It’s that time of year again, and it seems that everybody in the world has their hand out demanding their share of my “end of the year tax deductible gift” dollars. It really is enough to make a person cry, “Bah, Humbug!”
So many causes seem so worthy, and of course right now they all seem to have that one anonymous benevolent donor who will “double my impact” by matching my donation. I sometimes wonder why, if these people are really so generous, they can’t just give the money in the first place without attaching the string that it has to have a matching dollar from me.
When my kids were little, they would never let me pass by a bell ringing Santa or a red kettle Salvation Army volunteer without putting something in the pot even if we’d just put money in the pot at another store ten minutes earlier. It did make me happy that they seemed to get that Christmas is about giving, not getting. Even today, I can’t pass by a bell ringer without putting something in. Kara would turn over in her (nonexistent) grave if I did.
I don’t want to be a Scrooge. Truly, I don’t. I just don’t have the money to give that I did in the past. And every time I do give money to something, it seems they sell my name to every other similar organization around. So how can I know who or what organization to give my money to?
For me, one answer has always been the Lottie Moon Christmas offering. As a Southern Baptist, I am blessed. We have something called the Cooperative Program where a portion of all our tithes and offerings goes. One half of all our SBC missionary’s salaries comes from that. The other half comes from the Lottie Moon Christmas offering. Our missionaries don’t have to spend their sabbaticals trying to raise money to go back on the field. It’s already been provided. My money may be little more than the widow’s mite, but when added to the tithes and offerings of Southern Baptists from all over the world, it can have an amazing impact (even if it’s not doubled by some mysterious anonymous donor).
Some pastor once said that my Christmas gift to Jesus should be the first and largest Christmas gift I give each year. After all, Jesus gave His all to me. The pastor was right. I wish I could do so much more. I’d like to be able to give something to all those worthy charities with their hands out. But I can’t. I can only do what I can do. But if God can take five loaves and two fish, and feed five thousand men (plus women and children), he can multiply my offering if I obey His direction in my giving.
He does love a cheerful giver. And He loves me too. But He doesn’t want me saying, “Bah, Humbug!” He doesn’t like it when I grumble. So, instead I’ll say, “Merry Christmas, God bless us all, each and every one!”