Seek the Lord’s guidance as you give to charities
by Billy Graham
columnist
November 17, 2012 12:00 AM | 1016 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Q: Toward the end of the year we get dozens of letters from various ministries and charities asking for money. I’m sure they’re all worthy, and we’d like to help them, but we can’t support everything. How should we decide which ones to support? — Mrs. A.K.

A: I’m thankful you don’t simply toss these letters in the wastebasket; many organizations (including our own) simply wouldn’t exist if people didn’t support them with their financial gifts. And many of them especially depend on year-end giving to continue their work.

No, you can’t support every worthy cause — nor does God expect you to. If they are doing God’s work, you can safely assume that He will raise up others to support the organizations you can’t support (although you can still support them with your prayers). I always encourage people to give first of all to their local church, and only then consider other ministries and charities.

Begin by asking God to guide you as you give. He knows which organizations need your support; ask Him to help you find them. Study them to know what they are doing; check if they are known for having high ethical and financial standards; seek advice from your pastor or other knowledgeable person.

Most of all, remember that everything you have comes from God, and He wants you to use it all for His glory. We live in the richest nation the world has ever known, and most of us could give far more than we actually do. Don’t see your giving only as a responsibility, therefore, but as an opportunity to have an impact on the lives of others. Remember the example of the Macedonians, who “Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.... even beyond their ability” (2 Corinthians 8:2-3).

Q: I'm burdened with guilt because my husband and I had an argument one morning and two hours later he died in a car crash. I even wonder if the crash happened because he was upset at me. I don't know why I'm writing, but maybe it'll keep someone from making the same mistake. — Mrs. K.K.

A: Sometimes we deserve to carry a burden of guilt because we've clearly done something wrong — and we know it. King David experienced this after he committed adultery with Bathsheba: "My bones wasted away.... My strength was sapped" (Psalm 32:3-4).

But sometimes we carry a burden of false guilt — that is, guilt we don't deserve to have. We may think we've done wrong, but in reality we haven't, at least not to the degree we think we have — especially in God's eyes. I can't help but wonder if this is the case with you. You don't know what really caused the crash that killed your husband — and you never will. Yes, you wish you'd never argued with him, and that is a legitimate concern. It also is a lesson for others who might be tempted to keep conflicts brewing. But don't carry a burden you shouldn't be carrying.

The most important thing you can do, however, is to turn all your burdens over to God. Why keep carrying them by yourself, when God wants to carry them for you? The Bible says, “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall” (Psalm 55:22).

Guilt, grief, discouragement, fear of the future — whatever your burdens are, hand them over to Jesus Christ. God loves you — and your life will never be the same once you understand this.

Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.
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