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Giving Tuesday

Yes, I know. I’m two weeks late.
Two weeks ago, December 1, was Giving Tuesday—joining the ranks of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday.
Who could be against a day focused on giving, generosity, and charity?

I’ll confess to a few begrudging thoughts, or maybe feeling that it was encroaching on my turf. Not especially proud of it, but it was there.

“Isn’t every day a ‘giving day’ for Christians?” I asked myself, realizing how cliché and cloying that sounds before the thought was even fully formed. Or really, to cut to the chase, “Isn’t every Sunday a giving day for Christians?” knowing this sounds mighty greedy, too.

It is a bit like “Practice random acts of kindness.” Yes, for sure. But why not also practice consistent, methodical, and intentional acts of kindness?

We’ve all heard how people today want an emotional connection with their giving—spontaneously texting a gift to the calamity of last night. Very good.

Salvation ArmyThis time of year I often ring the Salvation Army bell (I’m aware that the Salvation Army has several chinks in its armor, but as our President says—channeling Reinhold Niebuhr—“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”) Part of what I enjoy about bell-ringing is seeing people who may not often have the opportunity or assets to be givers, dig deep to give. I’ve seen people go back to their cars and scrape through their ashtrays to find two dollars of change to push into the red kettle. Perhaps Giving Tuesday serves a similar function for the more affluent, but equally disconnected. It may also be the time to give to your “lesser” causes—missions and organizations you care about, but probably give only a small, annual gift. (like Perspectives?)

Still, someone has to give regularly and give for non-sexy causes. Who wants to pay for the church’s light bulbs, the college’s floor wax, or my salary?

The Deacons in our congregation have been having some good, thoughtful, and complicated conversations about such matters. Not a whole lot of solid answers, but I sense we are stumbling forward. They are wide-ranging discussions, but they orbit around questions like—
**As “regular” participation in a church is now considered twice-a-month-attendance, how do we encourage consistent giving?
**Is it possible to uphold the necessity of giving to institutional, day-to-day, non-sexy expenses? Experts say that energy and generosity for refugees or Haiti or Habitat never detracts from general giving, but it can feel otherwise.
**What kind of responsibility does the church have to give to other not-for-profits, especially when those organizations often have huge development staffs and solicit church members individually? Why should your church give to your favorite cause when you can simply give directly?

Speaking of your favorite causes, how about a clumsy transition to an appeal for you to support Perspectives and The Twelve? You can be two weeks late, or fifty weeks early for next year’s Giving Tuesday. No one expects you to give to us the way you support your home church. But a gift of gratitude would be wonderful.

Really, we are asking for an acknowledgement that in a small way your life is enriched, your soul is fed, your mind is stretched by spending a few minutes a day with The Twelve. We don’t pay our writers. We don’t have floors to wax or offices to heat. Conversely, we don’t feed hungry children or seek cures for deadly diseases. We’re not looking for gifts with scads of zeros. But we do have expenses and we virtually give our product away.

Would you, today, scavenge under your sofa cushions for a gift? Or use the link below to give an earnest gift, not a gargantuan one. If you’re still looking for a gift for that person who doesn’t want the ordinary, how about a subscription to Perspectives? The info you need is all found below. Thank you.
God bless us, every one!

To give directly online to Perspectives, click here

Send gifts via surface mail to

c/o Jason Lief
Dordt College
498 4th Ave. NE
Sioux Center, Iowa 51250

For information on subscribing to Perspectives, click here


Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell

Steve Mathonnet-VanderWell is a recently retired minister of the Reformed Church in America. He has been the convener of the Reformed Journal’s daily blog since its inception in 2011. He and his wife, Sophie, reside in Des Moines, Iowa.

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