Every year about this time, we get lots of letters from charities and religious organizations asking for money. I'm sure most of them do good work, but how can we know which ones we ought to support? We aren't wealthy, but we do try to give as much as we can. — J.F.
Many organizations (including ours) depend almost completely on the gifts of others, and year-end gifts often make up an important part of their annual budget. Don't treat their year-end appeals casually, therefore; many of these organizations need more support.
The most important advice I can give you is to seek God's will concerning your giving (not just now, but throughout the year). After all, God knows where your money is needed and where it will make the most impact. Why not ask Him to guide you as you give?
Remember: God gave your money to you—in fact, everything you have came from Him. The Bible says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father" (James 1:17). When we give money to His work, we are actually only giving back what He gave us. The Bible says, "Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Then ask God to help you to be discerning as you give. No, you can't give to everything—and God knows that. But give to organizations that are clearly doing God's work and are touching people's lives with His love. As a footnote, don't forget your own church's needs as the end of the year approaches.