In 2012, right in the middle of an economic upturn, Americans gave more than $316.23 billion to their favorite causes. That not only showed their confidence in the economy, but also the altruistic spirit of this people. It is an American trademark to give and help the needy.
The dictionary defines almsgiving as: “The giving of alms”. And alms as: “Money or goods given as charity to the poor. Charitable donations of money or goods to the poor or needy.” During Lent we are challenged to start giving, or improve our giving to the needy. This is an attitude that we should cultivate. The challenge is to take our eyes off ourselves and look around to see the need of others and to do something about it.
It is a time to start a trend – If you are not used to give to charity, this is the right season to start a new trend in your life. The Christian should lead the almsgiving, and dictate the example to be followed. When the apostles gave the green light to Paul to preach to the Gentiles this is what they emphasize: “They only asked us to remember the poor — the very thing I also was eager to do. Galatians 2:10.”
How should we give? Here are some simple suggestions.
1. Give for the sake of giving – Jesus said: “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you. Matthew 6:2.” Avoid advertising your contributions. You are giving to help the needy, not to show how good you are.
2. Give anonymously – Jesus said: “But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Matthew 6:3.” Nobody needs to know who gave and how much, but God and the person who will receive the gift, and sometimes not even the person should know.
3. Give to your church first – Paul wrote: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. Galatians 6:10.” The church is our family in Christ, and because of that we should pay attention if there is any need there before we look outside for place to give.
4. Give to a known charity – This will avoid giving money that will never reach the intended people. Always choose carefully where you send your contribution.
5. Give to a local charity – The best option is to give to some charity that you can visit, know their work, and evaluate their needs.
6. Give time if you cannot give money – If your budget is tight, volunteer your time and get involved. That will give you a wonderful feeling with the assurance that you are making a difference.
No matter how you do it, just do it. Start giving, begin with your local church, and gradually expand to a charity.
Have a blessed week,