Giving Good

The last few weeks have been fertile ground for the Lord’s guidance in my life.  A few of our members and I recently took part in the Florence Flourish gathering, where we learned about the needs facing Florence County.  We’ve studied Financial $tress on Sunday mornings, learning how money is a tool for the Kingdom instead a treasure for us to hide away.  In our Sunday schools and on Wednesdays, the theme of reliance on God’s hand has been central.
This was all on my mind when I read this verse:Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it” (Proverbs 3:27).  I have to keep check on myself whenever that old selfish streak creeps in. I ask, “Are you withholding good?”
The centerpiece to this is “What can we do to help?” We feel overwhelmed, wondering what one person can do to make a difference.  While there is much to learn, there is basic guidance in that simple verse from Proverbs 3:27.

We can break it down three ways:
  1. Do you have good available? You have Time, Money, Influence, or Resources.
  2. Is this good “due” to this person at this time? Are they needy, or just irresponsible?
  3. Are you able to use this good right now? Give sacrificially, but not recklessly.

For me, I consider this verse from the perspective of “whole life.”  I cannot give my time or money to every person or organization that needs help.  I can, however, give my time and money based on where God has place me. Everyone is different, so here’s how it looks for a guy like me:
  1. I’m a musician, so I give money to music ministries I believe in.
  2. I’m a parent, so I give time to places that benefit the health of my child and his friends.
  3. I live in the City of Florence, so I give to groups that help the community.
  4. I’m a part of Effingham Presbyterian, so I give my tithe to the Church. In turn the Church supports other ministries: local, national, and worldwide.

People always ask about specifics, so here they are a nutshell. Our family gives 10% of our paycheck (before taxes) back to the church. If I sell something online, I give 10% to a local ministry in Florence. All proceeds from my Psalms of Lament album go to a local ministry. If I can give my time as “Pastor” without undermining church responsibilities, then I do.  If I can give time as “Dad” without burdening the family, then I do.
My wife has different areas of influence and interest, so her list looks different: Athletics, Education, etc.  There are  seasons where our family is overburdened and we have to say “No” to giving time or non-tithe giving.  But there it is-- nothing too complicated, nothing to boast about, just living life where God has put us; using what God has given us.  Regardless of your income or influence, we can all do the same.  Then, one person really can make a difference.

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