Why is it that most charities are suffering a reduction in giving from the public? We are living through the worst recession for many years. The future is uncertain. Some have lost their jobs, but the majority are still in employment. Many people have had their wages or salaries frozen so that, because of inflation, they suffer a reduction in what they can spend.
There is a biblical principle that states that we reap what we sow. Unless a farmer sows seed into the ground there will be no harvest. If things are hard, and his family are hungry, the worst thing that they can do is to eat their seed. Without a harvest they may then starve to death.
Sowing and Reaping
This principle of sowing and reapingapplies to every area of our lives. It applies to our use of money, our time, and all our resources. It is particularly important that we supply the needs of others (sowing) when things are difficult.
It is comparatively easy to give to others when we are prospering and there is an air of optimism about the future. When things are difficult, but we still choose to give, then it is worth so much more. The value of a gift is not measured in pounds or dollars, but in terms of the sacrifice made by the giver.
The same is true of investment. Those who bought shares at the height of the great depression prospered more than those who sold their shares when things looked grim and bought again, at a higher price, when things picked up.
Giving to others is a form of investment. Now is an investment opportunity. Giving in a time of recession is worth more, because the needs are greater. Giving to others is an investment into the lives of people but also into our own lives. As we give we prosper, perhaps financially, but in any case we prosper emotionally and spiritually.
When Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he said that we should pray,
“Give us this day our daily bread”.
Note the use of the words, “us” and “our”. I am not just asking for my needs to be met. We are asking that the needs of our family, our community, and arguably the needs of the entire human race, be met.
In fact, God has already answered that prayer! There is enough food in the world to adequately feed every man, woman and child. But God has also given us a free will and we can choose not to share with others. God has done his part: we must also do ours. So when we pray, “Give us this day our daily bread”, we are really asking God to give us the ability to seek justice for, and to show compassion on, those who are without.
So, what stops us?
Last night, a small group of us met together as a prayer support group for the charity, Karuna Action, which I founded. We were talking together, and praying together, about the challenge before us in encouraging people to give in order to help more people. Although we are living in a time of recession, many people still have disposable income, and could choose to give more, now, when the need is greatest.
One sister hit the nail really on the head! She said that it was fear that prevented people from giving more. Fear of the future: fear that our own future may be affected by redundancy. Fear and pessimism are endemic in our society at the moment, and it is easy to be caught up in the prevailing mood.
But giving to others is compassion. Compassion is love in action, and we are told that “perfect love casts out fear”. Compassion is one of the opposites of fear. Showing compassion to other people, when things are not easy for us, can set us free from fear.
Freedom from Fear
If we have fear in our lives, and are worried about money, we could pray “God, release us from fear”. But God may be saying to us, “Love others, be compassionate, and give to others out of the resources that I have given to you. As you give money, in spite of your worry and fear, you can know freedom from that fear.”