Some of you have heard about “Giving Tuesday,” which this year is Tuesday, November 30. It’s a response to the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and is designed to provide people with a charitable day to consider giving as they go into the holiday season. (Learn more at www.givingtuesday.org.) I’m sharing this early so you and your family can consider how it might fit into your Christmas celebration this year.
You can give to any ministry you choose. (In fact, we don’t turn down gifts at EPM!) But one of my favorite ministries is the JESUS Film project, which I’ve personally witnessed at work in powerful ways in China, Cambodia and Mexico. If you are led to donate, then JESUS Film would be a great organization to consider:
Mission experts estimate that at least 1 billion people have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and most haven’t even heard the name Jesus.
They don’t know what He has done for them, nor His love, His offer of forgiveness and eternal life.
But film teams in India and South Asia are ready to reach them now with the wonderful news. Many of these waiting teams are with dozens of partner ministries. Most of these partners in the developing world cannot afford to purchase showing equipment, but they have teams ready to show “JESUS.” They are eager to take the gospel to their own people.
Waiting teams need portable, solar-powered projector kits and video tablet sets.
Today, these partners speak of an openness never seen before, especially evident in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some unreached people believe that the virus is a judgment from God. In their search for hope, they will attend an outdoor showing of “JESUS” or watch safely in the privacy of their own homes. Millions are ready for spiritual truth, for the light of the gospel!
Your gift of any amount will shine light into their darkness, helping to send hope, salvation, and peace through Christ.
A growing number of believers are aware of the materialism in our Christmas celebrations and are choosing to celebrate differently. I’d encourage you and your family to consider ways that you can make this Christmas different, even if you still exchange presents, as our family does. (See Changing Christmas in Our Families and in Our Hearts.)
When I was writing my book Giving Is the Good Life, I learned of a family sponsoring a child whose son asked them, “Can you help me sell my game system on eBay?” The parents were surprised, since this was one of their son’s most prized possessions. They asked him why. “So I can send our [sponsored] child a Christmas present,” he replied.
I’m sure the boy was happy when he originally received his game system. I’m also sure that when he gave a Christmas present to a truly needy child across the globe, his happiness was both greater and more enduring.
The way of loving generosity may sound like dutiful obedience to the uninitiated. But generous givers know the truth: the habit of generosity ultimately explodes into enduring happiness.
Many years ago, when our then-missions-pastor Barry Arnold told our church about enslaved Christians in Sudan, family after family spontaneously decided to give to free the slaves. My family was among them, and it was a wonderful Christmas, made better by the knowledge that we’d given to what matters.
Shortly before he and his four friends were killed by the Auca Indians in their attempts to bring them the gospel, missionary Nate Saint wrote:
As we have a high old time this Christmas, may we who know Christ hear the cry of the damned as they hurtle headlong into the Christless night without ever a chance. May we be moved with compassion as our Lord was. May we shed tears of repentance for these we have failed to bring out of darkness. Beyond the smiling scenes of Bethlehem may we see the crushing agony of Golgotha. May God give us a new vision of His will concerning the lost and our responsibility.
David Bryant asks, “Who wouldn’t like to end each day, putting our heads on our pillows, confidently saying, ‘I know this day my life has counted strategically for Christ’s global cause, especially for those currently beyond the reach of the gospel’?”
Whether or not you participate in “Giving Tuesday,” may this Christmas season focus on the person and work of Christ. One of my favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 8:9, “For we know the grace of Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty might become rich.”
Speaking of a gift, imagine one day on the New Earth, the warm voice of someone from a different culture, with a different color of skin, coming up to you, embracing you and whispering, “Thank you—through your giving you helped bring us the good news of Jesus.”