“Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."
1 Timothy 6:17-19
You've already seen the increase in Black Friday ads, right? It's fine to give your family a present like a new flat-screen, but let's think about the total picture we are giving them concerning the kind of life we want. As we approach Thanksgiving, we will all take some moments to count our blessings and consider all the things we have to be thankful for. Wisdom suggests we should appreciate what we have and not get carried away by the shopping season that follows hard on Thanksgiving’s heels. Beginning on Black Friday, as we consider the gifts we want to give to those we love, can we also consider ways of helping those who are really in need?
#GivingTuesday was established to ensure that we do not forget about those who are less fortunate. Giving Tuesday, the day after Cyber Monday, is the day set aside to give some balance to our lives after Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It does for secular culture what teaching on stewardship does for the church. It has grown in importance and is becoming a day of giving which kicks off the end of the calendar year charity season. After all, many nonprofit organizations receive half of their gifts during the last month of the year.
The Institute of Lutheran Theology (ILT) urges you to plan your giving. Ask yourself what you hope to accomplish with your philanthropy. There are many, many worthy causes to support, but since you can’t give to them all what is your criteria for choosing? One consideration is how much of that gift goes to the cause and how much to the organization. Another is how long of an impact will the gift have?
This #GivingTuesday ILT is asking for gifts to our financial aid program. We had a record number of students in the Fall term and our fund was drained dry. 100% of your gifts will go to student pastors. There is no greater impact a gift can have than to train up a pastor who proclaims the forgiveness of sin.
Paul the Apostle shared an important insight on the place of philanthropy. If you want to take hold of life that is life, one does not do that by grabbing but by releasing. You already know that. This is a gentle reminder to think about how you do it. Please include ILT in your end-of-year giving. Thank you.
Rev. Eric Swensson
Director of Donor Services, ILT