The hard economic times haven't hit me like they have most people, but I'm getting tired of churches and organizations begging me for money because they say their income is way down. After all, I've got to think of my own future in case things get worse. Am I just being selfish? — Z.A.
Only you can answer that question -- but I hope you'll face it honestly, because your answer will say much about what's really important to you. It also may point you to an even deeper (and more serious) question: What place does God really have in your life?
You see, our pocketbooks are somewhat like a thermometer that registers just how selfish or unselfish we really are. If we're selfish, it means we're putting ourselves and our desires ahead of the needs of others -- even those who are suffering. If we're generous, however, it indicates we care about others and their needs, and we want to help them. The Bible says, "A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor" (Proverbs 22:9). The Bible also commands us "to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share" (1 Timothy 6:18).
Have you ever stopped and thanked God for giving you a job during these difficult times? More than that, have you ever opened your heart to receive the greatest gift any person can ever receive -- the gift of God's own Son, Jesus Christ? Do so today.
Then ask God to show you how you can help others, both by your giving and by volunteering. Almost every church and mission agency and homeless shelter I know of is hurting financially today, and they need your assistance.