Q. I would like to make a contribution to Missions. Which are suitable? I can’t decide whether to give to the Bible Society, to the Red Cross, to Gift of the Givers, to the SPCA, or to a local Mission.
A. Praise the Lord for your giving heart; that’s a rare virtue in these selfish days. And it’s good, too, that you seek advice on giving. You must want to go beyond an emotional urge right into something that’s God-directed and principle-based. Keep living your life like this!
Let’s examine the ‘Missions’ you have listed. The Bible Society is a worthy cause as it gets the Word of God published. The Red Cross is a humanitarian cause rather than a spiritual; but worthy nonetheless. The Gift of the Givers purports to be humanitarian but is actually a spiritual outreach propagating the cause of Islam and diametrically opposed to the Gospel of Christ. The SPCA is also worthy, but related specifically to benefit in this world, and is not at all a spiritual cause or one that reaches into Eternity. The concept of ‘local mission’ is too great and varied to consider here, except according to some key principles you should use.Primarily, of course, you should be saved!
First, make your giving relate to the concept that your money actually belongs to God anyway and, as His steward, you should use and direct it in His interests.
Second, make your giving secondary to your tithe, which is the Lord’s, into your local Assembly. See Malachi 3:8-12. After you have tithed, consider the offerings God would direct you to make.
Third, your giving as a Child of God is more than ‘charity’ or generosity. It is a spiritual act of faith and needs to be taken in consultation with the Lord and under the guidance of the oversight of your Assembly. Some think it’s not really their business but, as you have submitted yourself to them in the Body of Christ, it is!
Fourth, consider what your Assembly has undertaken to support and invest your gifts into what the Elders have directed. Here too, consider what the Fellowship as a whole regards as ‘Mission’. In our Fellowship you will note that we undertake twice yearly visits to Churches in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique – always very costly and in need of financial support. Then there is Africa Outreach comprising some 40 African Language Churches with many needs. On top of this there is Christian Truth Ministries which, amongst other things, spreads the Word in business places and prisons – a vital operation. And don’t forget our Youth Work which ministers to young people, many from ‘unchurched’ homes – a vital Mission Field, needing finance for Camps!
It makes sense that, if you have committed yourself to fellowship with the Coastal Assemblies, you will want to support the Missions we, under God, have embarked upon. As one wit said once, “You don’t enjoy a meal at the Spur and pay at the Wimpy!”
Finally, if you still have something to give after your tithes, offerings and endeavours mentioned above, speak to the Elders in your Church and they will give you good and godly counsel.