So, let’s see. First we had Thanksgiving – then we had Black Friday. By the way, for those of you who don’t know the meaning of “black Friday”, it’s the day of the year that many retailers go from losing money (being in the red) to making a profit for the year (being in the black). Hence the name, Black Friday – the day when many small businesses turn the corner for the year and will finally make money for the last month of the year.
Saturday was Small Business Saturday, a day dedicated to making purchases from small shops and companies in recognition of their contribution to the overall economy and the workforce they employ. Monday, we had Cyber Monday, a day that used to be the busiest online shopping day in the year. You know why? This goes back to the time when many people didn’t have a fast internet connection at home and so people waited until they went to work on Monday to spend time ordering gifts that should have been done on their own time – not the time paid for by their employers. By the way, Cyber Monday is no longer the busiest online shopping day of the year – that distinction goes to several dates on the calendar in the middle of summer – in fact, Cyber Monday isn’t even in the top five online shopping days.
That brings us to the title of tonight’s post – Giving Tuesday. I couldn’t believe that by early this morning, I already had my inbox full of requests from non-profits asking for donations to carry on their work. I don’t even know how Janet and I got on so many lists. Like most of you, we have our favorite causes that we support, but there doesn’t seem to be any shame in just asking for money without any introduction or making bold requests to the community at large. Each time, we get greater numbers of requests that seem to be justified by the fact that there are all these other “named” days around Thanksgiving that people give credibility to.
But giving isn’t something that we should do one day a year anymore than we just purchase items on the internet one day a year. And I don’t think that we need a “Giving Tuesday” to encourage people to give. In fact, I’m a little put off by the whole concept. It almost seems like we are under some mandate to give and that’s just not the case. We are not to be manipulated.
God makes it quite clear that we are to give as we believe we are called to give – and that leaves the decision up to each of us. Our verse for the evening confirms this idea. We are told by Paul, in 2 Cor. 9:7, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” In other words, we are to give as we feel inclined, and not out of manipulation or obligation.
My encouragement this evening is that while God expects us to give something, as a form of worship and obedience, we are to make the choices as to who and how much we are willing to commit. The tithe (10%) is certainly something that we are to strive for, but even that is up to us. My prayer is that God will put certain ministries and causes on your heart that you believe are worthy to be supported. There are many great choices out there and we don’t need a Giving Tuesday to spur us on. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…