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Give Your Best for Giving

Posted on December 23, 2014

by Jeremy White

                                       

The sidewalks and streets of New York City have more homeless and beggars than we see in Paducah, Kentucky. On a recent trip to the big city with my family, we saw several beggars, and I wanted to be ready to give at least something and involve my daughters.

 

I handed several dollars to a man who approached us for a handout. Rather than thank me, he cursed me and followed us along the sidewalk angrily asking for more. Later, my daughter dropped a few dollars next to a sleeping homeless man but a gust of wind blew away some of them. Not exactly the warm, fuzzy feelings I had imagined.

 

Whether it is giving a few dollars away impulsively to the homeless or major philanthropic bequests, giving is not easy.  Jesus experienced the same disappointment when He gave health to 10 lepers, yet only one thanked Him.

 

When we enter the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons each year, the heart-tugging appeals increase. As you consider them, here are some principles:

 
  • Plan your giving and be intentional. Review what you’ve given year to date. Are you behind your target?

 
  • Concentrate your giving to make it count. Rather than the shotgun approach of $25 to ten different organizations, focus more money on a few. Consider giving mainly to those where your passion is and those for which you can realistically pray and be involved.

 
  • Involve your family. Let all participate in the joy -- and the challenge and disappointments -- of giving.

 
  • Do some research. One excellent website for Christian ministries is ministrywatch.com. It provides detailed financial information, complaint records, or IRS actions about ministries. It also names the best ministries for stewardship and integrity (the Gideons, for example) while listing the poorly managed ones (such as various television evangelists).

 
  • Make room in the plan for impulsive giving. You can’t always plan for every need that your encounter.

 
  • Err on the side of generosity instead of frugality.

 

Jeremy White is a CPA with BlytheWhite in Paducah, Kentucky. 

 


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