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Generosity needed in tight economy

The evangelistic and benevolent outreach of Churches of Christ is greater than ever.
There are now more ministries for disaster relief, evangelism, medical outreach, benevolence, children’s homes, urban missions, Christian schools and universities and short-term and long-term missions than anybody can name.
How wonderful! Forty or 50 years ago, onecould nearly count these efforts on one or two hands. In 1963, whilestudying under Otis Gatewood, Christian Chronicle editor Lynn McMillon remembers him saying: 
“Always try to give to a good work so that you can have fellowship with it.”
“He was right,” McMillon said, “and I am thankful he taught us to do that.”
These great ministries serve in the name of the Lord.
They exist alongside us, experiencing the same economic highs and lows as the world in which we live.
Because the struggling national economy, led by the frightening rise in the price of gasoline, raises our anxiety, we may be thinking of cutting back on our contributions to these worthy Christian endeavors.
Please don’t!
They need money — and a lot of it — if they are to live out their purposes.
Local churches also need our continued support throughout the year. Congregations plan their work a year in advance and trust the Lord, and the commitment of their members to give in a way that makes those good works possible throughout the year.
Erik Tryggestad’s front-page story highlights some of the critical work our churches do in feeding the hungry.
Additionally, the falling dollar is creating hardships on missionaries everywhere and on ministries that reach overseas.
We might feel stressed because of the rising cost of such basics as fuel and food, but how much more is this true for those who depend on our support?
Truly, this is a time for us to sacrifice for the sake of something larger than ourselves: the Lord’s work.
If we have to cut costs, let it be a luxury, a comfort or a whim, but not our support of these great ministries.
How much of our non-necessary spending could we better use to make possible the adequate funding of missions, relief efforts, children’s homes, camps, preacher training and the increased costs of all ministries?
It’s a sobering thought.
Rarely do most of us truly sacrifice in order to give to the Lord and the work of his kingdom, but now may be one of those opportunities.
Like the child who happily empties his piggy bank for a special missions contribution, we, too, will discover a deeper level of satisfaction and blessing when we give generously in these anxious times — especially when
it is a personal challenge to do so.
We all have favorite ministries. You heard a report or read a story or know somebody connected with that ministry, or you just believe in the great work the ministry is doing.
Bobby Ross Jr.’s Inside Story column on Page 3 is a good example of how these touch us personally and compel us deeply.
That purpose is magnified when economic times are tight and uncertain, so keep supporting them.
They need our help.
Let’s celebrate and be thankful for the multitude of ministries and the opportunities for participation they provide. And let’s recommit to support them well financially in these tough times.

Filed under: Editorial Staff Reports

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