DEAR REV. GRAHAM: I try to be generous when it comes to supporting projects that help people in our own community (including our church), but I can’t get excited about sending money to mission projects in other countries. How do I know it won’t be wasted, or even stolen? We have enough needs right here.
— L.R. DEAR L.R: You’re right, up to a point; no matter where we look today, the needs in our world are almost overwhelming. Even if you were blessed with enormous wealth, you still couldn’t overcome all the sickness and ignorance and suffering in the world; the needs are simply too great. Jesus healed large numbers of people when He was on Earth — but He didn’t heal everyone, nor will we.
But this doesn’t mean we ought to give up, or shut our eyes to the spiritual and physical needs around us — not at all. Over the years, I’ve visited dozens of impoverished parts of the world, and I’ve always been struck by their hardships and their lack of resources. But I’ve also been touched by how little it often takes to make a deep and lasting difference in someone’s life. A new well … a modern health clinic … a school for orphaned children … the list of needed projects is almost endless.
What can you do? First, pray and seek God’s will concerning your giving. In addition, ask God to help you see the world the way He sees it — not just part of it, but all of it. Christ loves the whole world — and so should we.
I suggest you also give through reputable organizations that monitor their work carefully and honestly. When Paul collected money for those in need, he took special precautions “to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift” (2 Corinthians 8:20).