According to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, close to 40 percent of contributors wait until the end of the year to donate to charitable causes. BGEA depends upon year-end monetary gifts to spread the Gospel. But even though the calendar currently marks the beginning of 2014, this should not be a deterrent for giving.
“Our greatest desire in our giving should be to serve God, not to gain some advantage for ourselves. We should be like the Christians in Macedonia whom Paul commended because ‘they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability,’ ” said Billy Graham.
He is quoting the new international version Bible, 2 Corinthians 8:3. Of course, in ancient times the people didn’t have the advantage of a tax deduction for charitable giving.
“I’m grateful our government realizes that churches and other organizations make an important contribution to our society, and for that reason grants them exemption from taxes,” stated Graham. “At the same time, everything we have, including our money, has been given to us by God, and we are only stewards or trustees of it. If we are Christians, our goal should be to serve Christ in every way we can, including with our money.”
In other words, don’t worry about a tax deduction for 2013, just give for altruistic reasons.
You could designate your gift for one of six areas:
1. Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (in general): See what the Christian charity is up to by viewing “Ends of the Earth,” a 28-minute online video that illuminates the global mission of BGEA.
2. Festivals & Crusade: BGEA is gearing up for a full Crusade schedule in 2014 that includes 34 events spanning five continents: Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, and North America.
3. Internet Evangelism: Many people wonder, “Am I loved?” “Is there a God?” or, “What’s my purpose in life?”
According to BGEA, millions turn to the Internet for answers to these important questions. You can look for inspiration, or even become a discipleship coach at SearchforJesus.net.
4. My Hope: When Billy Graham celebrated his 95th birthday this past Nov. 7, he marked the occasion by releasing a series of new videos called “My Hope with Billy Graham.” The video includes stories about Christians reaching out to friends, family, and neighbors to strengthen bonds and share their faith. It’s already had an enormous impact. Here are just two of the many stories online:
In South Carolina, a man invited 90 of his friends to join him for a golf tournament that included a meal and a showing of the “My Hope” program. After also sharing his own story of how he became a Christian, seven of his guests made decisions for Christ at the tournament.
In Florida, a woman took a My Hope DVD with her on a cruise across the Atlantic. After being told no religious services were permitted, she persisted and eventually had management permission. The cruise personnel provided her with a room, large screen and even snacks for two consecutive Sunday meetings.
“I will never forget the beautiful sites I visited, but the most beautiful site was the eyes and tears of those who invited Christ into their lives,” the cruising My Hope host said.
5. Rapid Response Team: Volunteer chaplains of the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team comforted people in the wake of 21 disasters throughout the world in 2013, from a deadly explosion in Texas to a devastating flood in Queensland, Australia. Others included SuperStorm Sandy in New Jersey and the aftermath of the Newtown, Conn., elementary school shooting.
One of their most emotional visits was the trip to Prescott, Ariz., when a late June wildfire took the lives of 19 “Granite Mountain Hotshots,” an elite firefighting team.
“People’s worlds have been turned upside down,” said team chaplain Kelly Burke. “You can see the tears, the emotion, and the pain on people’s faces.”
6. Billy Graham Library, an “Ongoing Crusade”: The library is located in Charlotte, N.C. It it organized around the following Christ-centered themes: “The Man, the ministry, the message, and the mission. The library complex includes the reconstructed childhood home of Billy Graham. Donations to the library help to keep admission free to visitors.
To give a gift of hope, send your contribution to: http://billygraham.org/landingpages/year-end-giving.
“Make sure of your commitment to Jesus Christ, and then ask Him to help you use your money the way He wants you to,” said Graham. “Through your giving, you can touch the lives of people you will never meet this side of eternity. The Bible says we should give joyfully ‘for God loves a cheerful giver.’ ” (2 Corinthians 9:7)