Christmas is coming. But remember, it’s not your birthday!

This article was published in the Shenandoah Valley Herald in December 2012.

What if you were to give away a percentage of what you spend this Christmas? What if we were to share our resources in a dramatic and intentional way that illustrates our deep gratitude to God for life, for faith, for family? Seriously! You can, if you choose, give a tithe (10%) or more of what you spend on yourselves and others. You can cut your spending in half of what you usually spend and give the other 50% away. You really could. Celebrate the birthday of Jesus, God's son, by intentional giving, maybe even sacrificing for those in need.

In 2008 my wife, Maxine McKinney, and I agreed we would give away an amount equal to what we spent and we did. We kept an ongoing list of what we spent and we gave at the same time to missions and ministries that we appreciated. I am going to say it was easy. Give as you go along because if you total it up at the end, when you review the amount, it makes it harder to follow on your intentions. We are, as you know, humans. Include everything. It should be above and beyond your giving to your church's regular offerings.

If giving is to mean anything it has to cost something.

Our inspiration for this act is Ginghamsburg UMC, Tipp City, Ohio, who over many years has challenged their congregation to give back as much as they spend – 100%. It has resulted in an unexpected and marvelous response and was so well supported that over the years they developed “The Sudan Project,” bringing fresh water and schools and health resources to a hugely deprived area of the world. Small church or large church, it does not matter. God will bless your giving and your intent and the gospel will be honored.

In addition, give someone a surprise! Find someone in the community in need and surprise them with a gift, personally delivered or sent anonymously. Gift cards that can be used for food, for clothes, etc, is better than cash. Surprise them!

Remember, “for God so loved the world that he gave…” and God keeps on giving.

— Pastor Dave
December 19, 2012

P.S. When giving to para-church ministries, please make sure they are transparent about their receipts and have assurance that your gift will go to those in need.