Each one should give what he has decided in his own mind, not grudgingly or because he is made to, for God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7-8 The Jerusalem Bible
It’s that time: time to budget for the year; time to make a giving plan.
Why? Because it is too easy to leave giving until everything else is funded, and then to give nothing because there is nothing left. Who suffers when you don’t give? You do because you deprive yourself of the joy of giving.
In a book she co-wrote called Uncommon Gratitude, Sister Joan Chittister talks about her experiences living among folks of very limited means, as well as her experiences with those who have more than they need. “Wealth,” she has learned, “consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”
In other words, both wealth and poverty can be real, or they can be nothing more than a state of mind. I can certainly relate to that because my mother talked poor her entire life despite the fact that when she died at 96 she had enough money to keep her in an expensive nursing home until she was about 125.
In addition to budgeting time, it is also time – well past time really – for making New Year’s Resolutions. One you can work at all year without feeling by the middle of February that you have failed, is to discover for yourself the joy of giving.
Whether you have a little to give or a lot, ask yourself a journalist’s questions, who, what, when, where, why and how. What would I like to accomplish with my gifts and why does that cause appeal to me? Who can I help and how can I do that? When can I make a gift, and where do I send it?
The version of the Bible called The Message, interprets our introductory scripture 2 Corinthians 9:7-8 the following way. “I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. 2 Corinthians 9:7-8
There are plenty of resources to help you make wise decisions about where to make donations, but a great place to start is giving to your church, your synagogue, or your mosque. Considering and evaluating organizations that are working to solve problems that are of real concern to you is a good next step. Then taking the time to research those organizations with resources like Charity Navigator will protect you from sob stories and arm-twisting.
Finally, an honest evaluation of your needs and your wants will help you budget wisely and determine how much you can give.
Blessings on your efforts to discover the joy of giving,