We live in the Austin, Texas area which has a large homeless population. During most times of the year there are homeless individuals who stand on street islands and corners. They are typically holding a cardboard sign with a sentence describing their need, a sentence asking for money, and a final declaration, “God bless you.”
For the longest time, I have struggled with how best to “love” and “do the right thing” for these people and with my resources. I ask myself, “How will they spend this money?” (Which is the enormous amount of $5.) “If they use it for some addictive behavior, am I contributing to their problem?” Not knowing the answers, I typically end up trying not to make eye contact and holding on to my money.
But I’ve recently remembered a statement that Landon Saunders made 40 years ago in a class that Jeanette was attending in college. Landon said, “God takes care of six billion undeserving people every day.” (That was the current world population at that time.)
That made an impact on me. God gives regardless of people’s intentions.
Here’s how that truth impacts my All-Of-The-Year-Giving-Spirit. I’m going to lean into the concept of giving more than judging. If I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the side of giving. I’m not going to try to determine if being “poor” is their own fault.
You see developing an AOTYGS really doesn’t have anything to do with me determining if people are worthy of my $5 or my $50,000. Developing a giving spirit comes from realizing what I have graciously received from God.
Check out what Jesus’ beloved friend, John, says about a giving spirit:
“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?” 1 John 3:16-17
When I realize what Jesus has given me, it causes me to not just wait until the end-of-the-year to
give. It changes my heart from hiding behind judging (which usually allows me to keep my money) to longing to experience the joy and blessing of giving 24/7/365.
And…when I partner my AOTYGS with Christian missions where people are giving their actual lives to making disciples, I can experience eternal satisfaction. I can know that my AOTYGS is connecting me to God’s “gold” standard of giving:
“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
God showed his love by giving Jesus to people.
I want to do the same.
How about you?