Our family has continuously sponsored a number of children through Compassion for over 30 years, since our daughters were small (I believe they were six and four when we first started!). It seems the photos of Compassion children, and their letters to us, have always been on our refrigerator. Those are heartwarming memories. It has been a joy to be connected with their ministry.
With the help of Pro Athletes Outreach, Compassion has recently launched Fill the Stadium:
COVID-19 has left nearly 70,000 children without a sponsor. That’s the capacity of the average NFL stadium! As the world is in the grips of COVID-19, it has led to more than sickness. Parents can’t work. Food is scarce. Our frontline church partners around the world are courageously delivering essential items to desperate children and families—often door to door.
Compassion and some of our Pro Athlete friends have teamed up to respond to this challenge. With your help, we’re hoping to ‘fill the stadium’ with urgent support for a stadium’s worth of children in crisis.
My strong conviction is that if I’m going to speak on behalf of a cause, I want to make sure I’ve given to it and am planning on giving more. Eternal Perspective Ministries has given to Compassion and Pro Athletes Outreach, and recently to Fill the Stadium, and we wouldn’t do that unless we believed in them. I encourage you to prayerfully consider giving to this project, and also to other worthy ministries.
Here are ten biblical reasons to give to causes like this one, which help children in Jesus’ name:
1. Giving shows love for God. The first and greatest command is to love the Lord God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30).
2. Giving shows love for people. To give is to love your neighbor as yourself. This is the heart of the Good Samaritan, who showed mercy and sacrificially loved his neighbor. Jesus said, “You go, and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).
3. Giving to help children recognizes their value to Jesus and their special need for care and protection. Jesus said in Matthew 19:14, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” The disciples might have been telling people, “Keep the children to the side. They’re just distracting. The Lord is here to teach the multitudes, but children get in the way.” But Jesus said, “No. Let them come to me.” He held them in His arms and elevated their status when He said, “The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” God puts great value in the loving, trusting heart of a child.
(By the way, Nanci and I loved watching the miniseries The Chosen, about Jesus’s life. The third episode is called “Jesus Loves the Little Children,” and it’s powerful. I highly recommend it for you and your whole family!)
There’s another intriguing (and often overlooked) verse related to God’s special love for children. In Matthew 18:10 Jesus says, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.” At first glance, we might think Jesus is saying that children have guardian angels. That may very well be true, but guardian angels would be here on earth around us, engaged in spiritual battle. There are some passages that imply their presence in our lives, but these particular angels Jesus refers to in Matthew 18:10 are not engaged in spiritual warfare on earth. Instead, they are in Heaven, continuously beholding the face of the Father.
What does that mean? I think it means God has appointed angels in Heaven who bring the cause of the children constantly before Him. It’s not like God doesn’t know or care what’s happening in their lives, but He often chooses to use secondary agents (like His followers) to do His work. He’s sovereign and all-knowing and doesn’t need angels to do that, any more than He needs us. But He chooses to have angels representing the cause of children and being a voice for them before Him. That’s a staggering thought.
God also has special rewards for those who help children, and conversely, special judgment for those who harm children. Jesus says in Luke 17:13 that it would be better for those who harm little ones to be thrown in the sea with a millstone around their neck. God absolutely hates the neglecting and exploiting of children, including sex trafficking and other forms of slavery.
4. Giving to the needy is giving to God. He says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). In Acts 9:5, Jesus says to Paul, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting.” Now, Paul was persecuting Christians. But Jesus says that if you do it to His people, you’ve done it to Him. In the same way, giving to the needy is giving to God.
Proverbs 19:17 says, “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done” (NIV). That's a striking verse, because God doesn’t owe us anything—we owe Him everything! But when we are generous to the poor, we are lending to the Lord. In that verse “LORD” is the personal name of God, Yahweh. We are lending to Yahweh, and He's going to pay us back, incredible as that sounds. But we didn’t come up with this idea—He did!
Scripture is full of hundreds and hundreds of calls to give to the poor and the needy. God, in His sovereign love and care for them, says, “When you give to them, I will take it upon myself as it were my personal debt, and I will pay you back (by implication) with interest.”
This isn’t about prosperity theology or the health and wealth gospel. We're talking about a payoff that's going to come in the life to come, and about storing up treasures for ourselves in Heaven, to God’s glory.
5. Giving brings us joy. In Acts 20:35, Jesus said, “There is more happiness in giving than in receiving” (GNT). Let’s not miss the joy it brings to our lives! A friend once asked me, “Do you know any generous person who’s unhappy?” I gave it a lot of thought. I know many generous people. Some have been through great tragedies. Some have dealt with seasons of depression and anxiety. But would I, overall, describe any of them as unhappy? No. Their generosity infuses joy into their lives and eclipses their many reasons to be sad.
6. Giving brings us purpose and adventure. Sometimes I meet Christians who seem utterly bored with their lives. There is a great cure for boredom, although it’s one people don’t typically consider: giving more time, money, and energy to God’s Kingdom work, and inviting God to open our eyes to the needs surrounding us.
7. Giving is contagious. In fact, it’s just as contagious as materialism. However, it brings life instead of death, and inspires others to enter into a greater love and joy and purpose.
8. Giving brings us eternal reward from God. When we give, we exchange treasures on earth that won’t last for treasures in Heaven that will last forever.
In Luke 14, Jesus was talking to a man who had invited him to a banquet, as well as to all the people who were guests there. (By the way, Jesus went to parties. The Pharisees didn’t!) He said, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors” (v.12). No doubt, the disciples and the other guests were thinking, Why not? Isn't that the normal thing to do? But Jesus said not to do so, “lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid.” Again, the disciples are probably thinking, That's the usual way it works, Lord!
Jesus said, “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you” (v. 13-14). It almost sounds like He is saying no one should ever want to be repaid—as if being repaid is a bad or unspiritual thing.
But then Jesus turned it all on its head by saying if you put on the banquet (for example, by meeting the needs of others and giving to the cause of the poor, like the children that Compassion and other ministries serve), then “you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (v.14). Let me be clear: we are covered by the blood of Christ, and that's the only way we’ll stand before the Lord. Our salvation isn’t earned by works of righteousness which we have done, like giving, but is according to His mercy. But God will choose to reward us for what we have done on His behalf and for loving our neighbors as ourselves by giving, especially to the most needy.
9. Giving moves our hearts to what will matter forever. Where you put your treasure, there your heart will be also. Do you want a big heart for the things of God? Give your treasure to the things of God, including projects like Fill the Stadium.
10. Giving has the power to break the back of the money idol. It frees our hearts to fully worship God and is a true investment in eternity. As long as I still have something, I believe I own it. But when I give it away, I relinquish the control, power, and prestige that come with wealth. At the moment of release, the light turns on. The magic spell is broken. My mind clears, and I recognize God as owner, myself as servant, and other people as intended beneficiaries of what God has entrusted to me.
Learn more about Fill the Stadium. Your donation provides children in need with critical resource and the opportunity to be included in a Compassion program during this global health crisis.
For more on giving, see Randy’s books Giving Is the Good Life, The Treasure Principle, and The Law of Rewards.
Photo by Tucker Tangeman on Unsplash
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.