This is the season of giving, when many couples think about making donations to some of their favorite charities. We regularly give to our church, Crossline Community Church, where we get spiritually fed, but we also like to give to others. When we give philanthropically, we like to choose areas that reflect our values and where our contribution will do the most good.
In 1988, the company we worked for wanted to raise funds for a national charity they were affiliated with. We volunteered to organize a dinner auction to raise funds. We worked diligently to put on the event and raised over $50,000 for the charity. Much to our disappointment, we later found out that less than half of what we raised actually made it to the cause. The balance went towards “administrative fees.” We also discovered that the organization advocates causes that don’t align with our Christian values. Our experience with this event taught us a valuable lesson. We vowed to become better stewards of our charitable giving.
The next year, we were invited to join a small group Bible study led by Dr. Harold Sala ofGuidelines International Ministries. This started an amazing friendship that has blessed us immensely in our spiritual growth. Harold and his wife Darlene became mentors to us. It was largely due to their encouragement that we became so passionate about encouraging healthy, Christ-centered marriages. They even invited us to serve with them in the Philippines and Singapore, where we presented marriage conferences to numerous churches.
Through our relationship with them, we saw first-hand many of the ways the Salas live out the Guidelines mission statement of Reaching people who need the Lord; Teaching them biblical principles to live out the life of Christ; and Touching needy lives to reflect faith at work. Guidelines likes to come alongside people ministering throughout the world with temporary resources to assist them in growing their ministry. The Salas carefully assess the needs of these ministries and hold the ministry associates accountable to use the resources responsibly. It is no surprise that God has blessed Guidelines in their work. This year they are celebrating their 50th Anniversary.
We have felt God-honoring in our giving to Guidelines. We know they share our Christian values and that 90% of designated giving is passed along directly to the cause. The Salas, who have written over 50 books, even contribute the earnings from the sale of their books back into the ministry.
When you give charitably from the financial resources that God has blessed you with, be good stewards. Don’t just write a check. Do your homework. Honor God by choosing charities that glorify God, and where most (if not all) of your funds get to the desired recipient. And remember, you can also honor God with your resources by giving of your time, talents, and prayers!
May God bless and keep you in His loving care!
Ed and Angie Wright
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