Christmas and its special solemnity is over (though the Twelve Days are not) and in the West there is a moment of calm. Almost everyone is taking a few days off their normal patterns to see to year end business, both for their family and friends, and also for their annual bookkeeping.
Many of us write a few last checks at this time, and favorite charities generally depend on us. The work of non-profits is not simple, nor easy, and the place of individual donors is critical to their effective service. Never more than at year end. This is most especially true of those ministries that seek to serve the Lord all over the globe. It is not easy to find those motivated to support the work of the kingdom far from home. It is this work that are most beloved co-workers do. Will you pray about being one of them this year?
Cynthia and I learned to tithe when we were down to our last $700 in this world. We had two small children, I was a graduate student in England, and we could not see how to survive for the rest of the year. At that very moment God placed on our hearts that we were to tithe that money. By his grace we did. We wrote a $70 check and placed it in the offering basket at our parish church the following Sunday. From that day to this, we have been on the journey of learning to be generous with all we have. Now that I do not have responsibility for a parish church, we tithe to NAMS. We give offerings beyond our tithe, of course, but we believe NAMS is to be the recipient of our principle giving. As NAMS Companions, we see the hand of God using our offerings to spread the kingdom throughout the world, and it gives us great joy to participate in this mission.
It is our smallest givers who may in fact be upholding NAMS before the throne of grace, however. We can never forget the lesson of the Poor Widow (Lk 21:3). St. Paul taught clearly that we are to give according to our means, as we have prospered, and this by implication means to us that we are to give by percentage, not amount. A $25 per month gift to NAMS may mean more in heaven than Jon & Cynthia’s tithe.
Some years ago I was visiting a dear friend who was responsible for a great Christian institution. At that time the annual budget of the school was $30 million. The campus was large and the students many, and after an impressive day of being together I commented: “You must have a large endowment here.” He smiled as he asked me to guess the amount. “$100 million?, “ I said. With great joy he smiled even wider and said “Nothing!” I was astonished. He then said: “Our average donor is a widow in Iowa who sends $35 a month. It keeps us close to the Lord.”
I have never forgotten that day, nor that statement. May God give us such donors.
Will you be one of them this year end? Perhaps you can be generous from much or from little, but if you can help us to spread this glorious gospel, we will thank God for you. Especially if you could remember us monthly. We are in his service only.
— Jon Shuler