Shopping season is upon us. Here come the offers via email, web ads, and flyers. Restaurants and retailers want your money, churches and ministries as well, and without apology, I do, too.
Of all the great ministries in the world, I want you to give to our particular humble ministry to the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. More than that, I desperately want you to give, but…I have two necessary conditions with a preferred third condition attached to my request. But before I tell you what they are, there is one thing to know about my request: it is that you understand that this is just a request, albeit a passionate one, but a request still.
Now here are the conditions. First, I would like you to give willingly, that is, not under compulsion, and secondly, I would like you to give cheerfully. In 2 Corinthians 9:7, Paul tells the Corinthian church that “each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
I never want to be accused of putting those infamous “guilt trips” on people. That would be compulsion. You are under no obligation to give to us. We are asking for gifts, not tithes. But I will always challenge you to consider giving to our cause. I may even challenge you to re-examine your budget and your discretionary spending habits. Here’s a challenge just for fun: find ten things sitting around your house that are collecting dust, put them in a pile, add up the approximate cost and think about what that could have done for the kingdom (Yes, I have done it myself, and I am embarrassed with the results — we’ll keep you posted on our next yard sale!). Here’s a challenging thought: How much designer coffee do we drink per week, per month, per year?
It is ultimately between you and the Lord what you should be doing with your money. You are the steward over the money God gave you, not me. All I can do is ask.
Thirdly, regular giving is what we are asking. Willingly, cheerfully, and regularly. We can’t get to the mission field unless we know that the funds will be there for at least for a four-year period. No amount is too small. One of our dearest supporters gives $5.00 per month — a true widow’s mite. You have no idea how encouraged we are because of her and her faithfulness. The Lord is teaching us something. Never be embarrassed for giving even a little.
Jesus tells us all that “we have not because we ask not” (Matt 7:7). We already asked Him; now we are asking you. Would you truly pray about giving willingly, cheerfully, and regularly so that we may plant a church in Cherokee, NC with the Cherokee people?