The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8
Today is Giving Tuesday, dontcha know, the day following the buying orgies of Black Friday and Cyber Monday when we are invited to be generous toward charitable causes which always are in need of our financial support.
There are an overwhelming number of these organizations, foundations, charities and it can be a challenge to choose. Many of them have become very adept at reaching out to existing and potential donors. This morning I opened my email inbox and the first four messages had the headers: Make a Difference This Giving Tuesday! We Have Been Challenged! We'll Boost Your Donation! Today is Your Chance to Double Your Impact! Yikes. I'm tempted to responde with Enough Already!!!!
Religious organizations including the United Church have been doing their best to catch our attention amidst the onslaught, and the pandemic has made the need even more acute. I regularly get messages now from the philanthropic arm of our denomination and the number seems to have increased. I have no qualms with the UCC using the methods which are available whether nationally or through local congregations. Why not?
This all reminds us that we need to be intentional in our giving as an expression of practical gratitude. Our Trenton UC congregation has sought our financial support so we have given a year-end donation and will increase our weekly giving, which we make through Pre-Authorized Remittance.
We have also decided to make a second contribution to the vaccination equity initiative which the United Church supports. https://giftswithvision.ca/products/pay-it-forward As countries scramble to respond to the Omicron COVID-19 variant by closing borders experts point out that the lack of support for vaccinations in poorer nations leaves everyone vulnerable. The weak response by wealthier nations such as Canada is truly a shame.
Ultimately, our relationship with the living and lavishly generous Christ will be our transformational motivation for giving. We all have a propensity for selfishness, it seems to me, which is part of the human condition -- be cautious, protect ourselves and our own. Yet we are set free through generosity of spirit. Practical, informed giving is what we do on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays...