Giving to a Cause

2 Cor 8:4-5  They urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people… they gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.

What kind of cause would you support? For two young men in Singapore, it was the universities they had graduated from. The Straits Times recently reported on the two 30-somethings who donated $100,000 and $250,000 respectively to their alma mater, as part of a desire to give back to the institutions that they believed had benefited them.

As philanthropists—especially those who support educational institutions—tend to be older, it’s somewhat unusual to see younger people donating such large sums to their alma mater. It’s also heartening, for it’s a refreshing rebuttal to commonly-heard criticism that young Singaporeans are “ungrateful” and “uninterested in helping society”.

Sceptics will probably say that these two young men could afford it—both are highly successful—but I think that’s besides the point. There are many who are even wealthier but less generous! And perhaps less far-sighted. In contributing to education, Randy Ang and Alvin Poh are making a significant, meaningful contribution to the next generation of Singaporean students. Perhaps they were thinking of how they could help younger people succeed in life, just as they were once helped by their universities.

Which made me wonder: Do we do the same as Christians? Do we give just as we have been given? Do we love as we have been loved? Do we seek to further the gospel, having received it ourselves?

I believe all of us are grateful for God’s mercy, grace, and salvation, which we have received unconditionally. Perhaps we can ask ourselves: Are we also ready to “pay it forward”—to be involved in the ministry of the gospel, and to support its spread so that more will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus as their Lord and Saviour? In other words, are we prepared to bless others as we ourselves have been blessed. Is that a “cause” we are passionate about?

The believers in Macedonia certainly were.

In 2 Corinthians 8:1-5, Paul praises them for giving “as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability”, even though they were “in the midst of a very severe trial” and mired in “extreme poverty”. What struck me was not just their “rich generosity”, but also that “they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people”. I believe the Macedonians were not just keen to help their needy brethren, but were also passionate about furthering the gospel and sharing God’s love in a real, tangible way. Just as they received the gospel and felt cared for, they sought to ensure that others would be blessed as they themselves were.

Not all of us are called to be missionaries, or “goers”, or are in positions to teach or nurture God’s people directly. But many of us can be “senders”, enabling the work of the gospel by supporting missionaries and those who teach and nurture God’s people—the people who may have once done this for us. We can pray for them, encourage and strengthen them, volunteer our time and our talents, or support them financially.

What cause will you support today?

Lord, thank You for sending people to share the gospel with me, teach me, and help me to grow in my faith. Please show me how I can do the same for others, that more might come to know and follow You. —Leslie Koh

 

Lord, thank You for sending people
to share the gospel with me, teach me,
and help me to grow in my faith.
Please show me how I can do the same for others,
that more might come to know and follow You.

 

We give because we have received.

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