Last week, as we celebrated Thanksgiving with family and those in our community, I was once again reminded of the strangeness this week now holds.
- On Thursday (Thanksgiving) people gather with friends and family and pause to reflect on how blessed we are and offer thanks to God.
- On "Black Friday" people fight and scrape to get into shopping centers to buy things they otherwise wouldn't just because the deals are so good. In other words, just 24 hours prior we're content and thankful and then...BOOM! WE HAVE TO HAVE MORE!
- On Saturday, people go shopping at smaller stores for "Small Business Saturday" to encourage them to stay in business even though they struggle competing with the big box stores. Then, everyone goes back home to watch college football rivalry games that create division among family members and friends.
- On Sunday, people (well some people) go to church.
- On "Cyber Monday" people get more great deals online. This is basically Amazon's version of Black Friday.
- Then, when all disposable income (a term that has never resonated in my home) is gone, it's time for "Giving Tuesday" where charities and non-profits seek to gain donations to help end-of-year expenses.
And some people wonder why Thanksgiving is the forgotten holiday?
As Christians, there are many commentaries on all these marketed, hashtag days. First of all, thanksgiving should never be relegated only to one day a year. Greed should never be celebrated. Worship should never be just during one hour on a weekend day and generosity should be natural for all followers of Christ.
Yet, today is #GivingTuesday and every non-profit and ministry out there seems to be taking advantage of the moment. To be honest, I don't blame them and in fact, there are many groups we sponsor as a family and ministries we support as a church family that could use a boost in donations. Yes, this day is a marketing strategy. Yet, when compared to "Black Friday" and the like, this one focuses not on self, but on others (unless you give so you can brag about giving, which then makes it selfish.) While not an extensive list, here are some options (in addition to your local church, which BTW is a non-profit as well) that you may wish to prayerfully consider giving generously to on this day.
- Florida Baptist Children's Homes
- Cabaret Haiti Mission
- New Missions in Haiti
- China Nest of Hope
- Lifeline Children's Services
- First Coast Women's Services (offering pro-life help and counseling services)
- Mercy Support Services
- Linguæ Christi (The CeLT)
- Church Planters - Mike and Carrie Godfrey
- Church Planters - Neil and Kaytee Jimenez
- Campus Minister - Adam and Sabrina Wiggins
- World Relief
- International Learning Center
There are many others. Before dropping that coin or sending a donation to a non-profit, do some checking. Ensure that the organization is legitimate and if a religious or Christian organization, it would be wise to discern the theology or teaching your donations support.
Happy Giving Tuesday. Oh and if you don't get to donate today, you don't have to wait another year. Generosity isn't bounded by calendared events.