It all started with being asked to preach a sermon on giving. Paul's powerful words in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 made me think, but so did Craig Blomberg's provocative Neither Poverty nor Riches.
Reading Jesus' words in Matthew 25:31-46 led me to conclude that we could partly fulfil this command by giving to Christians who are spreading the gospel and/or are in need or being persecuted. I also think we should be giving to help the poor generally, whether or not they are Christians.
So I have been trying to increase my giving to agencies outside my local church.
I began by giving to Opportunity International, which aims to help impoverished people get out of poverty, by making small loans to them, which they must repay. These folk appreciate being given a hand up, rather than a handout.
But I realised that I must support Christian missions, so the next year I also began to donate to our church's link missionaries, who are working in Lebanon and South America.
The following year I commenced giving to , which aims to assist persecuted Christians by providing support for those who are imprisoned or tortured, and training in God's Word through the provision of bible teachers who will train others.
Then, a little later, after reading about I began to support a young man who is taking the gospel where it has never been heard before.
This year, I hope to make some donations to the , as well as making some donations to the work of CMS. I would like to support their work in Aboriginal Mission World in Northern Australia.
Each year, God has enabled me to give a little more. I'm not blogging this because I think I'm great, but to show that it is possible with God's help to increase your giving.