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Giving to local Christian causes should be priority

To the Editor:
This time of the year people usually give more money to help the needy. I was happy to see last week that Steve Grindstaff was giving money to the local police and that Carter County Bank was collecting for ARM. One good ministry is Operation Christmas Child that gives shoeboxes of things to needy children. They make sure the children hear the gospel of Jesus and a church contacts them. See www.samaritanspurse.org/occ. You can build a shoebox online or take one to a drop-off location from Nov. 16-23, 2020. Valley Forge Freewill Baptist Church is a local drop-off location. Letting children build a shoebox teaches the importance and joy of gifting and should make them more thankful for the great blessing they have.
After Christians give 10 percent to their church they should consider some ways on making their other giving go further. One way is to reduce the number of organizations you choose to support and increase your giving to that smaller number. If you send a $20 gift once a year to an organization, it’s very possible your gift may actually cost that organization more than it produces. By the time the organization has receipted you, and tried a dozen times through the rest of the year by mail and phone to get you to repeat your gift, they’ve spent your $20. Some organizations have over 75 percent of gifts going to salaries and other administrative cost. I give no money to those calling me on the phone as most are scams and want to steal your ID to charge things to you. There are scam calls that lie and say that the money they collect is given to veterans, police, and Christian children with actually none of it going to them.
We should always seek to be wise managers of the blessings God has bestowed upon us, whether as individuals, families, churches, or the nation. A good steward isn’t only informed but also frugal. That is he not only strives to “know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds” (Psalms 27:23) but also obeys Jesus’ command to avoid waste and “gather up the leftover fragments so nothing will be lost” (John 6:12). As part of the efficient use of resources God has provided, we are instructed to avoid debt (Romans 13:8, Deuteronomy 28:12). Sadly, the U.S. federal government has ignored this simple directive, and so the national debt has now climbed to $27 trillion dollars. As a result of this high national debt the prices of everything will go up. Obeying the Biblical mandate that we, “owe no one anything, except to love each other” (Romans 13:8) takes a lot of stress off of us and gives us more money and freedom to help others.
Teddy Roosevelt said, “It is eminently desirable that we should none of us be hard-hearted, but it is no less desirable that we should be so soft-headed.” We shouldn’t give cash to panhandlers with signs such as “will work for food.” I keep some food in my car to give them. One Texas businessman stopped 40 times to offer work to them but none accepted. It’s better to direct panhandlers to Assistance Resources Ministry (ARM) behind Ingles, who can separate the needy from the greedy. There was an old saying told to those who gave panhandlers cash: “If drink has made a man poor, money will feed not him, but his drunkenness.”
Giving to local Christian causes should be our priority. The Bible in Galations 6 says, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Christians). The best way to make your gift go further is to give locally to Christian people you trust such as ARM (542-0919), Camp Ta-Pa-Win Go-CBM Camp in Watauga (543-8272), Doe River Ministries-Christian Camp in Hampton (725-4010), local Christian radio, the Gideons, etc. The Gideons gives Bibles and all your gifts to them buys Bibles with none going to administrative cost. (See www.gideons.org). You should also donate clean clothes to ARM or Lynn Valley Baptist Church.
Christians should do as Jesus did. Jesus always emphasized the need to help souls as well as bodies. Jesus fed thousands, but only after he presented the gospel. Our spare change will only help meet people’s needs today but people need real change that only comes from a saving relationship with Jesus. Jesus will help them forever. For Christians to only make sure people enter Hell with a full stomach and nice clothes is having misguided priorities! The Bible says those who win souls are wise and the greatest givers!

D.D. Nave
Elizabethton