A: Without exception, every organization that’s seeking to do God’s work in the world needs financial support, whether it’s your church or another ministry. Even Jesus’ little band of disciples needed people who would support it financially (see Luke 8:1-3). God wants us to give, and His work requires us to give.
Nor should you feel that God can only use large gifts! Do you remember when Jesus fed a crowd of 5,000 people? (You can read about it in John 6:1-13.) In their excitement, no one had brought any food, except a little boy who had five small loaves of bread and two fish. But in Jesus’ hands that small lunch miraculously fed the entire crowd — with some left over. The lesson is clear: Jesus can use even our smallest gifts to do great things.
Why don’t we give more? One reason, I believe, is because we’ve lost sight of the needs in our world. Tonight millions of people will barely sleep because of the pain in their empty stomachs, and some won’t make it through the night. Billions of people today are spiritually lost, “without hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12).
Begin by realizing that everything you are and everything you have has come from God. Then ask Him to help you to be generous, and to use your resources wisely for His glory. May you be like the early Christians in Macedonia, who “gave as much as they were able, and even beyond.... They gave themselves first of all to the Lord” (2 Corinthians 8:3,5).
Q: I suppose you’ve heard of “control freaks” — you know, people who try to control us or run our lives. Well, that describes my mother precisely. She’s a widow and I’m her only child, but does that give her the right to interfere with my life all the time? — Mrs. E.G.
A: No, it doesn’t entitle her to keep interfering and trying to control you, especially now that you’re an adult and also married. It’s no accident the Bible says part of God’s pattern for marriage is that “a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife” (Genesis 2:24).
At the same time, I hope you’ll try to see things through your mother’s eyes, as best you can. No doubt she feels all alone; her husband has passed away, and now you’re no longer part of her life (at least like you once were). I can’t help but wonder if her attempts to interfere are actually driven by loneliness, or at least by a feeling on her part that life has lost its meaning. I may be wrong, but you might think about it.
Situations like this can be difficult to resolve, but let me make three brief suggestions. First, take the initiative to keep in touch with your mother. Elsewhere, you complain about how often she calls you, but do you ever call to find out what’s happening in her life? Over time, it might keep her from prying so much into your life.
Then gently but firmly remind her that while you love her and value her, you and your husband have your own family now, and you hope she’ll respect that. In addition, pray for her, and urge her to put her hope in Christ — and also become more active in her church.
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.