If you are eager to help others and to give generously, let your enthusiasm to give show!
"Can you show me how to give enthusiastically?" (I hear your spirit asking).
I can try. As long as you are sincere in wanting to know, there is a chance I can do it.
First, let's pin down a Bible verse that talks of this; "For I know your eagerness to help, and I have been boasting about it to the Macedonians, telling them that since last year you were ready to give; and your enthusiasm has stirred most of them to action." (2 Corinthians 9:2. NIV) That was the apostle Paul highly commending the Corinthian believers for giving enthusiastically to help out the needy in another part of the world.
Generally we have become accustomed to pessimism from the constant stream of doom and gloom on the news. Our society thinks anyone that is optimistic and enthusiastic must be off-balance mentally. Not true! Society has it backwards and is unhealthy. God wants us to let our enthusiasm show! He also commends those who are enthusiastic - especially in giving and sharing with others.
Why? Because it inspires others and leads us all to victory and many better things. So let's learn how to give enthuasiatically too.
If you are in a room, or crowd, where there are lots of people, and suddenly someone someone jumps up, loud and self-confident and starts shouting a message, or orders - what do people do? Many of them follow that leader. People are like sheep. If someone breaks ranks and jumps the fence, most of the others will follow. Even if it is to start a riot.
If you become open and enthusiastic about your giving to some needy cause, the same thing will happen. Others will 'catch' your enthusiasm and follow your example. (Do you catch on? This is your cue for being a trendsetter).
I grant you; we do need to balance this with the Biblical instructions to give humbly and discretely. We want to learn how to give enthusiastically without bragging or trumpeting what and how we give to others. This can take some fore thought. But it is possible, as I am still learning.
How can we give enthusiastically so that it will stir others to want to give also?
Speak openly about needs and opportunities to give that you learn about and that touch your heart. If you talk to friends and associates about how you feel moved by the need in Haiti, for example, or what is happening on the most notorious street in your city, and then you talk about the great work someone or some group is doing there, and how you desire to help them - that should do it.
Whenever you get a progress report from some ministry or iniative that you support, pass it on to others and be sure to exclaim favourably over that report. It will plant that subtle idea in your hearers' minds that this is a worthy project to support.
When you give or send a gift to a charity, or a person, add some note or message to say how glad you are to help them out. That will give the recipients emotional and spiritual fuel to carry them for days! At the same time it will confirm in your own heart that this was a great move on your part. (Sometimes we need to relight our own fire, don't we?)
Even if you desire to give, but don't have the funds yet, unless you are being extremely rash, let that future recipient know. They will join you in praying fervently for you to receive the desired funds, and they will rejoice with you when it comes and you can make your gift enthusiastically.
Many potential givers have nerver watched someone else do it, so they are not sure how to go about it at all, never mind how to give enthusiastically. I remember that I only started tithing in church in earnest, once it was more fully explained to me. If you have family members and close friends, it should be okay to show them how you go through the steps of giving a gift to charity, or the church. Especially if it is a regular practice for you. You don't have to show them the amount you give, but just the steps to preparing and sending your gift, and especially how to give enthusiastically.
Of course, I should note that now-a-days, online giving is becoming a very common practice. But there are still many people who have never ever tried it. They are afraid to buy or donate online. You could give the a quick demonstration in just a few minutes of how to give enthusiastically online. This could trigger a great giver's career!
Getting back to developing that undercurrent of joy and enthusiasm in our giving - we may need to overcome that subtle habit we have picked up from the media and people around us, that the world is in a mess and that there's nothing we can do about it. Just keep your own nose clean. At the same time there are some cautions and dangers of giving to those who prey on our tender hearts, and will pretend to have great needs when they only want to take our money. This is why I work on this site, Generosity-Alive.org and harp on this one-string banjo; that we must learn to be wise and discrete givers at the same time that we learn to be generous and how to give enthusiastically.
I don't pretend to be fully mature in this goal, but I have set up for myself some steps so I can give eagerly and generously;
* Study up, research the group or mission that has come to my attention
* Try to determine their true need, and their ability to spend my gift wisely
* Subscribing to their prayer or newsletters if any helps. Or start an email dialogue.
* Pray for them, then I may get enthused about their work and goals.
* Without being snoopy, or looking for dirt, find out how others see them.
* Consider a visit and face to face meeting - if at all possible.
* Give a small, designated gift first and observe how they handle it.
(if they do not spend it as designated, or don't acknowledge it - beware!)
* Keep in mind that individuals may not have the etiquette to say thanks, while missions should.
* Once I have confirmation from God's Spirit that I should give to this person or mission, I throw myself into it more heartily and start sharing their needs with friends.
Then, like putting the finishing icing and decorations on a nice cake, I am trying to learn more about how to give enthusiastically once I know to whom and how much of a gift I'll give.