by Dave Miller
I got challenged to pour a bucket of ice water on my head today, to help raise awareness (and funds, I guess) for ALS research. I’ve never really known anyone who had ALS, other than public figures, but I am aware of the disease – any lifelong Yankee fan knows about Lou Gehrig and the disease named after him. It is a terrible disease.
I get appeals all the time from the heart fund, the cancer society, Jerry Lewis, Wounded Warriors, Susan G. Komen, the March of Dimes, and the Children’s Miracle Network. They are all, I’m sure, worthy charities. There are hundreds of charities making hundreds of appeals. They do, to one level or another, do good work.
I don’t generally donate to any of them. It’s not (I hope) that I am hard-hearted or unfeeling, but I have some reasons why I do what I do and give what I give. Let me (very briefly) share my thought processes.
1) I have a very limited amount of money I can give. I’m not like some of you Southern SBC Pastors who all make 200,000 to 300,000 bucks a year (at least, that’s what I assume). I can’t give to everything.
2) I have chosen to give as generously as I can to my local church, to Lottie, Annie and other SBC offerings. If I was going to give to other charities, I’d likely have to cut back on giving to the church and I’m not going to do that.
3) As someone who has been redeemed by Christ, my primary purpose is to bring others to Christ, to fulfill the Great Commission. If I am going to be involved in a charity, or give to an organization, it MUST have a Great Commission component. We supported one of the “support a child” ministries in Africa for a time, but it was one that was actively and aggressively evangelistic.
4) There are a lot of people out there who have no interest or involvement in the church, who are secular, unchurched, and unconcerned about the Great Commission. I figure they can give their charity dollars to whatever floats their boat. I’m going to focus my giving on ministries that make a spiritual difference in the world.
Again, this is not to disrespect any of the funds I mentioned above or charities you might be involved in. I realize I might change my perspective if someone I love got ALS, died of cancer, or whatever. Follow your own convictions – these are mine. But for me, what money I have to give is going to go into a ministry that meets needs WHILE it proclaims the saving message of Christ.
And, preferably, one that does not ask me to dump a bucket of ice water on my head.
Dave Miller serves as senior pastor of Southern Hills Baptist Church in Sioux City, Iowa.