Giving Tuesday is one of my favorite days of the year. Giving Tuesday is the day when each of us has an opportunity to give back just a little bit more than our weekly tithe.
In the words of Billy Graham, “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7). The more we love Christ, the more we will want to advance His work by our giving.”
Years ago, our family decided to set aside a few extra dollars each month, money that we would give away at the end of the year. As Christmas approached each year, instead of just making a list of things our children wanted, we would get together as a family and give away our monthly savings as gifts to charities which were in the words of Billy Graham involved in advancing God’s work.
One year, as we were sitting around as a family, the conversation turned to the Christmas story and the farm animals at the manger. All of a sudden, as we were talking about giving to others, one of our children suggested giving away farm animals as Christmas gifts for a needy family.
As a family, we had never given away farm animals and had no idea where to start and we started to laugh, probably the reason God loves a cheerful giver. After a few minutes, we discovered Samaritan’s Purse was a great place for our family to give away farm animals, including chickens, goats, sheep and other farm animals which would allow a poor family to earn a living, and better yet, a poor family which could learn about the greatest gift of all, the gift of God’s son, Jesus.
While there are many needy organizations that advance the Kingdom, and the decision of which organization you choose to give to on Giving Tuesday is an individual decision, one thing for sure is that Giving Tuesday is the one day out of the year when each of can be generous and cheerful givers. Giving Tuesday is also a great day for each of us to quietly put a smile on the face of someone we will likely never meet, yet someone who will benefit from our generous and cheerful gift.
Another benefit of Giving Tuesday is that it is the one day when each of us have a chance to make a generous and cheerful gift as a Christmas present for those persons in our lives who always say they have everything they need, and don’t need anything for Christmas. Giving Tuesday is the one day when each of us can give generously and cheerfully, so we can send that family member, or friend, a Christmas card with a note that says, “For our best friend who has everything they need, this year our family donated, a goat, a cow, chickens, or “whatever” in your name, a gift which you can now add to your list of everything you already have, a gift you no longer need.”
Over the years, as a result of our giving a gift in someone else’s name for Christmas, our gifts have boomeranged and the following year we have received notes or cards from family or friends who have chosen to give a gift on behalf of our family. Imagine the smile our family would get when the following year we would open a Christmas card from an organization thanking us for the cows, chickens, goats, or whatever else that was donated on behalf of our family to a needy family or person in a poor country somewhere in the world, or a needy family or person somewhere in America.
In the end, if you have been looking for a reason to give generously and cheerfully on Giving Tuesday, a reason to put a smile on someone’s face, or simply for a reason for God to love you as a cheerful giver, Giving Tuesday is the day when each of us can finish our Christmas shopping early. Giving Tuesday is the day when we can all quietly show our love for Jesus, that one day when to paraphrase Billy Graham, the day when we each of us can advance the Kingdom with our generous and cheerful giving.
So, as I often do, I would invite each of you to join me on my imaginary mountaintop, a place where each of us can quietly choose an organization where each of us can give cheerfully and generously, an organization that will put a smile on the face of someone who really will benefit from your gift on Giving Tuesday. Remember, no matter how much you decide to give, no matter how many years you live, at the end of the day you will never be able to out give God and the present he sent each of us on that first Christmas morning, the gift of the baby Jesus.
Mark Wohlander, a former FBI agent and federal prosecutor, practices law in Lexington, Kentucky.
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