Q: Toward the end of last year we got dozens of letters from charities and religious organizations asking us for money. But with the economy so bad we decided not to give very much this year, because we might need the money if one of us loses our job. Were we wrong? - W.H.
A: What you did was understandable, and I'm sure many readers of this column feel the same way you do. Families are being more careful with their money today, and most of us could get by on a lot less than we've been used to spending. The Bible says, "The prudent see danger and take refuge" (Proverbs 27:12).
However, I hope you'll also look at this from another viewpoint - the viewpoint of those who are in need. Charities and other nonprofit groups across our country have been almost overwhelmed in recent months by people who desperately need their services - often because of a lost job or other financial crisis. Yet donations are down - sometimes drastically - and these organizations find themselves stretched to the limit.
Never forget Jesus' words concerning our responsibility to help others (often called the "Golden Rule"): "In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you" (Matthew 7:12). Remember too that the work of preaching the Gospel is more urgent than ever - and yet almost every church and mission organization I know is facing financial hardship.
Ask God to guide you in your giving. Remember: Everything you have comes from Him - including your money. Make sure of your commitment to Christ, and then trust God to "meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).