Why I haven’t donated money to Fiji …
… and why I should donate money to Fiji
The recent devastation caused in Fiji by Tropical Cyclone Winston has been massive and will take ages to sort out.
I definitely know that’s the case, even though I don’t live in Fiji or have any family or friends that do.
I know it because I’ve seen news reports, had friends send me links to videos or articles about the cyclone’s impact, and read of UnitingWorld’s efforts in Fiji.
Clearly, I know what’s happened in Fiji. I also know what’s required to help with recovery efforts. From where I comfortably sit in Sydney, about the best I can immediately do for Fijians is donate money. Give something to an organisation like UnitingWorld that is on the ground, helping to restore and revive Fiji.
But I haven’t done that.
I mentioned to my wife about one week ago that we really should send some money. I still haven’t.
Can’t handle the truth
I’ve got plenty of reasons. From laziness to forgetfulness, none of my reasons are positive. While admitting this shameful fact is enough to guilt me into rushing off to do it straight away, there’s something else this non-donation situation says about me that’s causing me concern.
I’m a Christian but, in the example of donating to Fiji, I haven’t been thinking or acting as if I believe the truth of what I believe.
I’ll put that another way: if I know something is true but I don’t do it, aren’t I acting as if it’s not true at all?
The truth is Fiji is in need of assistance. The truth is I’m a Christian. The truth is Christians “must give as they have decided in their heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”. (2 Corinthians 9:7). The truth is a Christian is free to give as they see fit to give, knowing that Jesus calls his followers to a committed attitude of humble generosity (see Matthew 6:1-4, 19-24; Acts 20:35).
And, still, I haven’t lived out that truth.
How is it that I am living as if the truth is not the truth? Same way that so many of us do it, in many different areas of our lives, far too often.
We allow ourselves to be defeated in to the ongoing battle between what we know to be good, right, true — and what is not.
This battle is well explained in the seventh chapter of the book of Romans. Basically, while Christians can want to live out God’s truths, our imperfect selves can stumble because sinful desires lure us in opposite directions (see Romans 7:13-25; but read what comes before it and after it, to make most sense of this passage).
What my lack of donating to Fiji reveals to me is I’m a walking, talking version of Romans 7. Not living out the truth because, well, it’s hard. Requires focus, perseverance, concentration and a willingness to yearn for the truth to be reality in my life.
The truth, the way, the life
So, don’t misunderstand me. This isn’t an article that demands Christians must give money to all charities, all the time.
Instead, it’s an article calling for the truth to shine forth through our lives – because it is the truth. And it sets us free to be what it calls us to be. The kind of person who doesn’t wait several weeks to give money when they have decided in their heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, to give.