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:
- Do you have good available? You have Time, Money, Influence, or Resources.
- Is this good “due” to this person at this time? Are they needy, or just irresponsible?
- 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:
- I’m a musician, so I give money to music ministries I believe in.
- I’m a parent, so I give time to places that benefit the health of my child and his friends.
- I live in the City of Florence, so I give to groups that help the community.
- 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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