What does it mean to give biblically? The Old Testament models a 10-percent tithe — but what about the New Testament? Anna Goodworth, a member of the Hartford Women of Vision chapter, reflects on that today: "Without a consistent relationship with the poor, we cannot sustain giving or the desire to give as God intended."
Read more about how God called Anna into relationship…and what He wanted of her.
Do remember the first time you went on a missions trip or saw poverty up close through a trip, a story, or a cause? Remember that passion?
I remember coming home from a trip to Haiti in college, and I wanted to sell all my stuff, live simply, and give all I had to the poor. Yet slowly my previous spending habits came back and my heart was dulled.
Each trip had a similar pattern, with perhaps a longer delay of forgetting those I cared for in other countries — those who have not been as blessed as I have been in education, opportunity, safety, health, and so much more. I could practically forget them … or it least it seemed that way.
Then things changed — finally — and it stuck this time.
It stuck through a relationship with a child.
I am convinced that without a consistent relationship with the poor, we cannot sustain giving or the desire to give as God intended. I cannot see the poor very well from my suburban home or on my computer screen. They're just statistics and stories, rarely even names. They are not relationships. God designed giving in the context of relationships.
Though there are many ways for us to get involved with the poor, child sponsorship offers one of the most unique and incredible relationships with the poor that we can have in our everyday life. If a friend of mine is suffering, then I am suffering and I am moved to help them. Similarly, when we have added sponsored children to our family’s lives, their countries’ news means something to us.
My child’s pen pal is in that country. Dirty water concerns me because a child I know was affected by it until a well was brought in through sponsorship. Letters go back and forth between us and them, and we rejoice in their joys and mourn in their sorrows. My kids offer their allowance and birthday money so their sponsored children can have presents, too. (Now that is a miracle!)
We shouldn’t be surprised that it is relationship with the poor that calls us further into giving.
The Old Testament Levites actually gave closer to 30 percent of their livelihood after many different voluntary offerings of worship and gifts to the poor on top of the mandatory tithe. They gave because the poor lived all around them and they couldn’t change the channel. The New Testament Church sold what they had to give to those in need.
They saw that their sacrifice changed lives — lives of people they cared about. My past financial relationship with God looked a little bit like a contract where I agreed to give 10 percent (extra credit if we gave more) and then got to keep the rest. But He always wanted more. He wanted all of it, just as he wanted all of me…to use for His redemptive purposes.
With every letter we receive from our sponsored children, our family feels blessed to be part of something so redeeming and beautiful. It just started with a child.
Sponsor a child and start building a relationship today!