We’ve got this year’s “Giving Tuesday” playbook, filled with suggestions, schedules, and sample messaging. We’ve got the latest research studies, detailing how people gave differently this year compared to last. There’s a whole industry touting the ins and outs of charitable giving — and you will see the experts’ advice manifested all around you November 30.
But your Moravian Ministries Foundation in America turns to a different source of guidance. The word ‘give’ appears 921 times in the bible – almost as many times as “faith,” “love,” and “hope” combined. Jesus himself spoke of giving many times. So, in my mind, there is no better case we can make about the importance of giving this Giving Tuesday, November 30, than the words Jesus. I’m calling the campaign “What He said.”
Paul’s parting words to the Ephesians in Acts 20 — the things he wants to make sure they remember — quotes Jesus on the blessing of giving.
25 “Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God,[a] which he bought with his own blood.[b] 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.32 “Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” 36 When Paul had finished speaking, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. 38 What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
Jesus delivers a hard message and challenge to the wealthy man in Matthew 19
16 A man approached him and said, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?” 17 Jesus said, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There’s only one who is good. If you want to enter eternal life, keep the commandments.” 18 The man said, “Which ones?” Then Jesus said, “Don’t commit murder. Don’t commit adultery. Don’t steal. Don’t give false testimony. 19 Honor your father and mother,[d] and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”[e] 20 The young man replied, “I’ve kept all these. What am I still missing?” 21 Jesus said, “If you want to be complete, go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me.” 22 But when the young man heard this, he went away saddened, because he had many possessions.
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the parable of the sheep and goats. Will generosity and giving be an ultimate measure on judgement day?
Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. 34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
So, if you are still reading this, I know you will go straight to the Giving Portal and make a gift to your favorite Moravian congregation, agency, or ministry on Giving Tuesday. Not because we used the best marketing playbook. Not because the researchers predict that online giving will be up this season. But, because of “what He said.”